BookExpo America prepares “Books in Translation: Wanderlust for the Written Word” program for 2014

BookExpo America focuses on “Books in Translation: Wanderlust for the Written Word” in 2014, and we are proud to serve as program coordinator for this new edition of the “Global Market Forum” in New York City.

On May 28, 2014, a series of professional panel debates will explore how translations can take advantage of today’s hugely expanding possibilites of the international book industry, as BEA’s press release has it:

Books throughout history have been the vehicle for ideas and stories that transcend geography and cultures, reaching audiences far beyond a native land or language. Globalization and digitization bring new forces that are re-inventing the book trade and extending the possibilities for translations.

Partners to the BEA Global Market Forum will include the Literary Translation at Columbia Writing Program, PEN World Voices, Open Letter Press at the University of Rochester, the Association of Author Representatives (AAR), American Literary Translators Association, Art of Translation in San Francisco as well as representatives of international markets promoting their countries’ literature in the US.

Find the press release here.

Questionnaire for Global Ebook report online: Industry professionals invited to share their perspectives.

To update the “Global Ebook” report, a new questionnaire has been opened. We ask publishing professionals – publishers, distributors, platform and service providers as well as industry experts to reflect their assessment on the evolution of ebook markets globally. Your valuable input will behighly appreciated.

“The Bookseller” has joined the network of international media partners for the new “Global Ebook” report.


Global Ebook report to be continued, with broad network of media partners.

Next update ready in October 2013, tracking key data and referencing international ebook developments.


The “Global Ebook” market survey will continue to serve the global publishing community by mapping key market data, referencing global, regional and local players, and providing overview and analysis on critical topics.

The next update of the study is prepared for September 30, 2013, in time before the Frankfurt Book Fair, researched and published by Rüdiger Wischenbart Content and Consulting, and promoted through a unique network of media partners which includes many of the leading trade magazines of the international publishing industry, notably Book Dao (PRChina), Book Industry Magazine (Russia), buchreport (Germany), Livres Hebdo (France), PublishNews (Brazil), Publishers Weekly (US), Svensk Boekhandel (Sweden).

The “Global Ebook” report surveys key developments relevant to the emerging ebook markets in many countries and regions (including the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Central and Southeast Europe, Russia, Brazil, the Arab World, PRChina, or India) and tracks critical debates on such decisive topics as ebook pricing, DRM, piracy, or the challenges of global versus local players.

The “Global Ebook” market report has been initiated and supported by O’Reilly Media and the TOC conferences in fall 2011, and updated twice per year. The most recent update of February 2013 can be downloaded at Starting with the next update of fall 2013, the report will be published by Rüdiger Wischenbart Content and Consulting, with additional details to be released in the course of summer 2013.

Contact: ruediger (at)


Vienna, June 19, 2013

Exciting transformations in German publishing: How will independent publishers meet a turbulent future?

While over the last few days, everyone interested in German publishing was puzzled by the kind of harakiri staged by the two owners of the prestigeous Suhrkamp Verlag, their Munich peers at Hanser now use the moment – and the momentum – to show that a generational transition in a highly regarded literary house can also be exciting in a positive sense. A year before Michael Krüger will resign as he turns 70 in 2013, the announcement was made today that Jo Lendle (44) will succeed him from January 1st, 2014.

Krüger, for three decades, had developed Hanser into probably the best address in Germany for a pretty broad specter from really exclusive, high brow fiction, to bestselling titles from Umberto Eco (“The Name of the Rose”), Isabelle Allende or Swedish crime star henning Mankell. Hiring Jo Lendle, who learned the job at DuMont in Cologne, wants to send out a clear message: “We know that things are changing, really, but we are up to go for the new times!”

Meanwhile at Suhrkamp, Ulla Unseld-Berkewicz, widdow after the legendary Siegfried Unseld, not only moved the publishing house from culturally sleepy Frankfurt to exciting Berlin – which could be understood as a similarly bold move. She also spent much time quarrelling with literally everybody who dared coming close to her aura, including several quickly resigning managing directors, and now with her co-owner of 39 percent, Hans Barlach, in a true soap opera, broadcast live via all German media: Their recent battles in court resulted earler this week even in a first instance ruling deposing the current Suhrkamp management (including Ulla Unseld-Berkewicz). (See here and here – in German).

But the Suhrkamp soap is not the really exciting news in fact. I am more interested in what Hanser – and perhaps a few more independent houses – will do, like Lendle’s DuMont (he was appointed to the post of publisher at DuMont, after being editorial director before,  just by January 2012), or Swiss Diogenes?

There are lots of turbulences in the market of publishing and books: The pressure from Amazon is mounting, the two local retail chains, Thalia and Weltbild, are each in dire straits. Ebooks so far have been largely driven by the three big groups – Random House, Holtzbrink (with S. Fischer, Rowohlt et al.) and the German part of the Swedish Bonnier group (Ullstein, Piper), plus a few other rather non-traditional book publishers (like Luebbe – which has a long tradition of doing ‘trash’, but has re-invented itself in the digital arena, and just announced to open a creative writing school to train their authors, and a bookshop to better understand readers).

One doesn’t need to be a wizzard in economics to predict that the mounting digital tide will result in a new wave of consolidation. (Random House showed the pace with its merger with Penguin a few weeks ago – but remind you, the German part of RH was not part of that deal!). New players will come in, with both local start ups, and the big Globals (Kobo, B&N, plus Apple, Amazon, Google) expanding their share, and traditional roles in the business going topsy turvy.

Those literary minded publishers in the middle – the Hanser, Suhrkamp, Diogenes, DuMont – must re-invent themselves radically. Will the Gallimard model be one option (Gallimard, by acquiring Flammarion recently opted for a strategy of growth, to catch up with the big groups). Will family owned Hanser have talks via their new top person with DuMont? Will Suhrkamp go under – with a hugely interesting backlist ready for a takeover as the company itself disintegrates?

German readers are a clientèle anyone in the business of books can only wish for – books and reading are a part of the DNA of a broad cultural middle class, which at the same time seems to embrace digital, after early hesitations, now with a growing appetite and pleasure. This year’s Christmas should see a lot of digital sales, both devices and books.

The landscape seemed so calm only two months ago, at the Frankfurt Book Fair. But everyone well knew that this was not true. Now we are going to find out.

In a global perspective, ebooks are much bigger, really, and more complicated, than what we had thought in our wildest dreams. Look at Google!

Have you followed – and realized – that Google will now make available some 5 million titles as ebooks – and only half of them are in English!

This will make Google rather sooner than later, the by far leading aggregator of digital books.

Read more in my first blog entry at the Tools of Change / O’Reilly blog here.



Für deutsche Verlage ist Österreich ein wichtiger, wenn auch nicht immer einfacher Regionalmarkt. Schriftsteller aus Österreich haben indessen seit mehr als einem Jahrhundert eine überaus starke Präsenz in der deutschsprachigen Literatur. Ähnliche Erfolge österreichischer Verlage sind indessen die Ausnahme, schon vor 100 Jahren, als Freuds “Traumdeutung” bei Deuticke in Wien erschien – oder heute, wenn zweimal in nur drei Jahren der Deutsche Buchpreis an den Kleinverlag Jung und Jung in Salzburg geht.
Das Binnenverhältnis zwischen den beiden Nachbarschaftsmärkten ist zunehmend schwierig – wenn deutsche Exporte wachsen, und österreichische Verlage immer weniger Bücher nach Deutschland schicken.

Wir haben die Details, rechtzeitig zur Buch Wien 2012 recherchiert und für das führende Branchenmagazin buchreport zusammengefasst – dessen Büro Wien wir auch sind.
Den Artikel senden wir Ihnen gerne zu.

Random House and Penguin to merge – Reading a watershed development in global publishing

I spend a good part of the day giving interviews to German, Swiss and Austrian media, while trying to get a reading of the many dimensions of the at first rumored, and now confirmed merger of two leading trade publishing houeses, Random House and Penguin.

These are the easy to comprehend aspects: When German Bertelsmann acquired Random House in 1998, the leading US’ trade publisher, this kicked off publishing as an international – more precisely: trans-national – business. But at that point, “international” was still confined to Europe and North America. Today’s announcement of the merger of the global number 3 and 4 in trade, according to our Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry Ranking, or, in the US perspective, the combo of #1 and #2 of the American Big Six publishers, this reaches out across five continents.

The newexpansion now gets publishing at a really global stage, aiming at markets like China, India, or Brazil. Ironically, the German home of Random, Munich, is explicitely cut out of that picture. Strange at first glance. The German imprints of Random House will continue to report to RH New York, but will not have a seat at that table where global decisions will be made. Germany, once the proud second largest publishing market worldwide (now overtaken by China) finds itself on the rear seat.

Also obviously, this is about publishers trying to find their (new) angle with Amazon, Apple, or Google in that new map of global publishing. But the new Penguin Random House (or, as my old friend Philipp Jones coined the wonderful phrase in the Guardian today, the “House of the Random Pendguin“) will have revenues of perhaps €2.5 bn, against Amazon’s 15 fold turnover of € 37bn. How will such an imbalance work out in the near future?

Or can they, really, get leverage from owning the world class content that indeed they own?

Many thoughts to be considered and discussed. This should make me want to write – and discuss – more, here in this lazy blog, and elsewhere.

For today’s interviews, in German, see Die Welt, Deutschland Radio – part one (last Friday, still in predicting mode) and part two (today), Swiss radio (all in German though).

With more to come.


A Global Map of Publishing 2012 – PREVIEW: Our events and reports at the Frankfurt Book Fair

Allow me to proudly invite you to several events and reports about latest developments in international publishing which we prepared for the Frankfurt Book Fair – as examples of our work in the past year.

This is the world of global publishing as we see it today:

see also


This map was drawn based on the brand new report “The Global Map of Publishing Markets 2012”, which we prepared on behalf of the International Publishers Association (IPA). You can find it, together with a brief analysis on current trends on IPA’s or at .

A second study, the “Global Ebook Markets” report will provide rich ressources and analysis in much more detail, on how digital is growing, not just in the English language sphere, but also in Europe and globally.

It is presented at the TOCFrankfurt conference on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 ( ), with two different panel: One on “Outsmarting Piracy”, and the other on “Where next?”. The report will be available for download for free from Tuesday at .

What are, overall, in the perspective of leading companies, the relevant trends of that industry, and who are the drivers and the actors? This will be discussed at the

Frankfurt CEO panel: Disruption and New frontier.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 14:30 to 16:00,
Hall 4.2., Room Dimension!prettyPhoto

Meet executives from key players, notably Barnes & Noble, Fnac, Google, Kobo and IndiaPlaza, hosted by the leading industry magazines The Bookseller, buchreport, Livres Hebdo, PublishNews Brazil, Publishers Weekly. This is the annual state of the industry debate, based on our “Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry”.

And for a more indepth approach, we invite you at this special event:

Understanding Arab Publishing:
The United Arab Emirates
Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 16:15 to 17:15
Forum Dialogue, Hall 5.1 A 962.

This debate will introduce the brand new “Research Centre” of the Sharjah International Book Fair, with two studies that we could carry out recently, a thorrough analysis on reading habits in the UAE, and on the emerging UAE publishing market, a the crossroads between Europa, Spouth Asia and the Arab world, and as a hub to an exciting region for culture and business in full change.

For more details, links and downloads to all those topics, go to or to the blog

As publishing goes digital & global, we have the numbers, and share the insights.

Looking forward to seeing you in Frankfurt!

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