Publishers’ Forum 2018: Preliminary Agenda Now Online! Early Bird rate until February 15, 2018

Beyond Publishing” is the motto at the Publishers’ Forum on April 26 and 27, 2018 in Berlin. Thinking beyond the traditional tailor-made publishing business stands at the core of the debate. As today’s consumers organize their entertainment and information needs from their smartphones, traditional publishers are facing a whole gamut of interdependent challenges.

The preliminary agenda for Publishers’ Forum is now available online at

Here are the 5 most important starting points for the event:

  • Personalization is the key! From this, Klaus Driever derives his strategic thinking, today as a digital thought leader in the Allianz insurance group, and formerly in a similar position in the book trade at Weltbild, and in the media group ProSieben;
  • As the market is fundamentally turning, and the book trade is losing book buyers massively in the direction of social media and other digital offerings, it is time to brazenly analyze this congestion – looking at the big picture, as Felim McGrawth of the Global Web Index does , with comparisons of different markets, such as Germany, the Netherlands, or the UK, and with new looks on print versus digital sales, and on the direct competition with self-published titles.
  • New market conditions call for new business models. The large consumer platforms increasingly rely on direct authoring, subscriptions and premium offers. In detail, this will be explained by Plamen Petrov of Amazon and Hermann Eckel of the Tolino Alliance. But there are also completely different approaches, with cross-media storytelling as in Kaiken Entertainment, or bestsellers based on crowdfunding, as with Unbound.
  • Any publisher going direct-to-consumers, and thereby installing new data-driven processes in the enterprise, is inevitably facing the next wave of technological innovation – artificial intelligence, big data, and machine learning.
  • But where exactly are the starting points for the implementation of such digital innovation in the publishing house? How can a strategy be developed and implemented in an existing company organization? This will be discussed by decision makers from all publishing sectors, such as independent C.H. Beck, or corporate houses such as Holtzbrinck or Bonnier, as well as educational publishers like Cornelsen, and leading specialist publishers.

Five relevant “Take Aways“, each of which is already worthwhile participating in the Publishers Forum on April 26 and 27, 2018 in Berlin. A good working atmosphere with the best opportunities for networking and even sharing experiences with colleagues will complete a rich experience at this event.

Registration is open at , with the attractive early bird rate still available until Friday, February 15, 2018.

How is the business of books doing? A call to better share data and insights.

How is the book business doing? Throughout the industry, this is a popular question around this time of the year. Particularly in non-English language markets, I am often puzzled by the creativity in most answers, to avoid controversy, and find a good ending to any story around the thorny issue.

When the Federation of European Publishers, FEP, released their newest report, we learn, for instance, that the decline of the British pound sterling, and not publishers’ performance, must be singled out as a main culprit for what is at least a mixed bag of European publishing developments.

I certainly do not want to blame FEP’s tireless data man for the statement. Over a good decade, he has spent a lot of time and effort, especially behind the scenes, to convince the organization’s members to produce useful numbers where hitherto, we had mostly white noise.

But even by FEP’s own numbers, when put into a more thorough perspective and context, tell a grimmer story indeed. As soon as inflation is factored in, which is certainly an uncontested economic standard practice, the total European publishing market has lost significant value, and continuously so, over the past decade. During the same period, total title output has continued to grow. Therefore, the average print run, and hence publishers’ average income must have taken quite a blow. Such dire conclusions are often omitted, though. (For details, see our “How Big Is Publishing” report at )

Total publishing revenue development, versus title output, in all of Europe, plus in Germany and France, 2008 to 2016. FEP data; analysis for “How Big Is Publishing”, .

It is correct that the largest – and best documented – markets, like Germany, have resisted relatively well so far. Still, in 2016 and 2017, even Germany has seen a continuous net decline for two consecutive years. No big cataclysm has occurred, at least among publishers. Retail is a different story altogether, in Germany and in most other markets.

What about the weaker markets? Not only crisis hit Spain, or Italy. How about Central and Eastern Europe? Belgium? Even for Austria, we lack concrete figures now for quite some time. We are not given any details here.

I do not put my finger on the vulnerable spots out of some freakish pleasure about the negative trend lines, not at all. But as an industry in full transformation, we better look at the facts, and for doing so, we better get ready to bring the full information into the open.

A few hints, which are familiar tunes to most observers.

Book publishing has, across the board, strongly suffered from the crisis of 2008, and its aftermath. In most non-English markets, these shock waves have not been understood in their entirety.

What used to be a largely coherent market segment, consumer books, has become highly fragmented. The competitive landscape has changed. Self-publishing is a factor. Amazon is not just a key account, but a direct competitor in both food chain, and innovative business models.

Most of all, anyone stuck in an old silo thinking – ‘my niche has not changed, I had a good year!’ – will miss critical insights from what is going on outside of their respective silo. No-one can afford such a limited horizon in their view on the world.

Therefore, data, and maps, are critical.

This said, I need to add a complaint: It’s been a while since I attended my last conference session, or private workshop, with speakers from different data organizations comparing their insights and notes. If I add to this wish list, to also have in the room people who know about other content industries, not just books – I cannot even recall when such a debate has taken place.

So this being a New Year, here is my resolution: Start talking to each and every one, to share numbers, and to not be shy to also include the unpleasant stuff.

The Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry 2017 now available as digital publication.

The Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry, which has been updated every year since 2007, currently represents 50 companies that each report revenues from publishing of over 150 m€ (or 200 m US$).

The Global Ranking for the first time is now available as a PDF digital publication, which encompasses:

    • A table ranking the global top 50 publishing ventures;
    • Detailed profiles with key data and profiles for each of the listed companies;
    • An analysis, dwelling on 10 years of data, highlighting the strategic trends.

This standard reference on the leading players in international book publishing is ready for purchase for international businesses at the price of €199 at


How big is global publishing? And why would we care to find out? The first BookMap report on publishing in a bird’s eye perspective.

The newly released first BookMap report, “How Big Is Global Publishing?”, provides surprising insights, based on data from around 20 countries worldwide.


Consumers spend around 122 billion euros on books and publications across the six continents. Two thirds of the money are earned by publishers in just six countries: The USA, China, Germany, the United Kingdom – the world’s biggest exporter of books -, Japan and France. India, with a population of 1.3 billion, and France, with a comparably modest 67 million, each add a similar 3 percent to global publishing, in terms of money spent by consumers.

As hundreds of millions of additional people in Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America are now gaining modest middle-class incomes, and therefore share rising aspirations for education, access to knowledge as well as entertainment, conventional wisdom would expect that this is a golden age for an expanding business of books. Not quite so.

In an overview over the past decade, 2007 to 2016, this report portrays an indeed changing global industry, which is truly expanding however in only a few countries like China. The leading English language markets in the US and UK could recuperate from some of the shockwaves of economic turmoil, digital upheaval and changing consumer behavior. But in their vast majority the book industry is strained.

This study maps global publishing, brings a wealth of data, and introduces fresh perspective in the analysis of market drivers and trends.

How Big Is Global Publishing?” can be downloaded free of charge at

The free report introduces BookMap, a new non-profit initiative for research about international publishing markets.

Global Summit 2017 on Knowledge Services in Beijing co-sponsored by Ruediger Wischenbart Content and Consulting

Following up on last year’s successful premiere with the Beijing Summit of the Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry, again a top level conference has been held right ahead of the opening of the Beijing Internatuional Book Fair, BIBF, on August 22nd, 2017.

This year, the focus was put on “Knowledge Services“, a Chinese formula summarizing Science, Technical and Medical as well as Educastional publishers.

Again, leading executives of key players from Chinese and international publishing companies addressed an audience of influencial Chinese publishing professionals to discuss recent trends in the industry, and opportunities to broaden and deepen the exchange between China and the world.

Professional speakers included Shi Hongjun, general manager of CITIC Publishing Group, Elsevier Scientific Reference Global vice president of Solutions Davies Bryan (Dai Bowen), a joint company director, vice president of Zhejiang Publishing, Wu Xueyong, Springer-Nature Group’s chief strategy officer, Niels Peter Thomas , vice president Himalaya, Jiang Feng, and Francis & Taylor‘s chief technology officer, Max Gabriel.

As in 2016, Wu Shulin, former deputy director of the State Administration for Press, Publications, Film, Radio and Television (SAPPFRT, formerly GAPP), and now executive vice president of the China Publishers’ Association (CPA) gave an introduction and welcome to the delegates.

The half day conference had been jointly organized by CPA and the leading Chinese professional trade publication, Bookdao, and co-sponsored by Publishers’ Weekly, Livres Hebdo and Ruediger Wischenbart Content and Consulting.

For a detailed account, including video from the event, see the report in Bookdao and in Livres Hebdo.


The Global eBook report 2017 is out

The Global eBook report 2017 is a standard reference for international market developments in digital consumer books.

  • Overall market trends for print and digital in the Americas, Europe and Asia;
  • New and more detailed ebook sales trends across key markets;
  • In depth analysis on how genre, price and sales channels drive, and differentiate, ebook markets;
  • Critical analysis on global players (Amazon, Kobo) and new market models (e.g. self-publishing)

Get your copy of the report at for only € 20, or take a look at the executive summary and table of content free of charge.

Preview on the Global eBook report 2017 available

The market of consumer ebooks develops in largely other ways than print. We see huge differences according target audiences, cultural background, genre or pricing.

Understanding these complexities require new data and analytics – which the Global eBook report is pioneering to provide.

A preview with first sample charts on non-English European ebook markets is ready for download here.

To contribute information and insights to our research, find an online questionnaire here.


Preview of Global eBook report 2017 & launch of new project BookMap at London Book Fair

The entirely re-written 2017 edition of the Global eBook report will present new data approaches for a realistic reading of how ebook markets perform, especially in non-English language markets. What we find in the markets is not at all the same “plateauing” or “flattening” of digital sales in consumer publishing.

Instead, digital reading has become a truly challenging and complex market environment where publishers compete with (self-published, or independent) authors, various genres and sub-genres in fiction notably struggle to gain the consumers’ attention against other content formats and channels, and where totally opposite strategies on pricing co-exist.

So far, it was next to impossible to gain a solid overview on trends and developments across different markets. The freshly re-structured and more compact Global eBook report 2017 however will be able to dwell on in depth information for an in depth reading of markets as different as Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands.

Furthermore, just as with previews editions, the ebook markets of North America and Great Britain will be analyzed, as well as those of Brazil, China, Russia or India.

The full report is due for release in late April. A preview with selected findings will be introduced at the London Book Fair, on Tuesday, March 14, from 4 to 5 pm, at Olympia, Gallery (upstairs), in Suite 2.

At this same session, also a new initiative on international publishing statistics will be launched: A global BookMap in smart numbers.

BookMap is a non-profit initiative for publishers, policy makers and professional educators who need to know what shapes the market. To find out more, go to , where a brochure can be downloaded with all basic information.

Celebrating 10 Years of PubMagNet: A worldwide network of book trade magazines, colleagues and friends

It seems as if it all started only last season, but it was 10 years ago when we first met in Vienna, for an informal exchange between professional publications for the international book trade, and a few like minded colleagues interested in publishing markets and developments.

Pictured are Thomas Wilking, buchreport, Javier Celaya, DosDoce, Benedicte Page, The Bookseller, Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly, Anne-Laure Walter and Fabrice Piault, Livres Hebdo, Carlo Carrenho, PublishNews, and our guide at the French National Library. (Photo: R. Wischenbart)

Within a decade, its members come from all over the world, and yet it has remained to be as informal as in the very beginnings. Only, that PubMagNet – for Publishing Magazines Network, as we call it – has evolved into an ongoing exchange of ideas, professional experiences, innovative impulses – and also a group of friends.

In 2017, we met in Paris, to celebrate the 10th anniversary for PubMagNet, ready to continue, seamlessly, into the second decade.

Publishers’ Forum on April 24 & 25, 2017 in Berlin: first speakers & topics

“Next Tech Revolution”, Copyright Controversy, the growing relevance of User Communities: The Publishers’ Forum 2017 will cover the most important topics and debates in publishing in strategic presentations as orientation and in workshops for practical implementation.


In Berlin on 24 and 25 April, this gathering of German and international decision-makers and thought-leaders from the publishing trade and related technology providers will get to heart of the latest issues and controversies facing the industry:

  • “Next Tech Revolution”

What will artificial intelligence, machine learning and industry 4.0 mean for the publishing industry?

  • “Authors”

How can the fundamental relationship between author and publisher continue to succeed in the face of new competition?

  • “Copyright and Regulatory Policy”

What concepts and models exist in Europe?

  • “Beyond the Book”

How can publishers enhance the value they add and how can they implement these enhancements?

  • “Personalization, User Communities, New Partnerships”

How and why is the current upheaval in “digital learning” relevant for every publisher?


  • Zoë Beck (author / digital publisher “CulturBooks”)
  • Michael Bhaskar (curation specialist, publisher, and founder of the digital publisher Canelo)
  • Michael Cairns (Information Media Partners; Member of the Editorial Board of the Publishers’ Forum)
  • Javier Celaya (DosDoce)
  • Benedikt Dalkman (in charge of establishing Bertelsmann Education Group)
  • Ehrhardt Heinold (Heinold, Spiller & Partner)
  • Michael Healy (Copyright Clearance Center)
  • Laura Nevanlinna (Kaiken Publishing / “Angry Birds”)
  • Joerg Pfuhl (Holtzbrinck Buchverlage)
  • Rüdiger Schmidt (Bosch-Druck / HP)
  • Ulrich Spiller (Werkstatt Verlagscockpit)
  • Andreas von der Heydt (Amazon Kindle Deutschland)
  • Aljoscha Walser (Narses)
  • Kate Worlock (Outsell)
  • and many others…

Get inspired – take part in the workshop discussions – join in the conversation!

Detailed information on the speakers and an online registration form can be found at the conference website

New exciting venue

The event will take place at the dbb forum berlin – at the core of the bustling city, in busy Friedrichstrasse, with hotels of diverse categories in walking distance.

Early Bird discount only available for a few more days, until February 15, 2017

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