Global eBook Fall 2014 Update: Fresh market data, new insights on ebook pricing, the Amazon debate, and overview on subscription platforms.

The Global eBook report has released a new Fall 2014 update, based on data and trends until September 2014, including

  • The most recent data and debate summaries on ebooks in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Denmark;
  • Comparative tables and charts on ebook market shares in selected international markets, and the Big Five publishing groups;
  • Tracking of highly diverse ebook pricing strategies European main markets;
  • A referenced summary of the Amazon (versus publishers and various author groups), with direct links to key documents;
  • An overview on leading subscription (or flat fee) ebook platforms in the US, Germany, Spain, and Russia, including key data on each initiative.

We will highlight highlights on the most recent findings here in the weeks ahead.

For the full report, look up *Wischenbart* in your favorite ebook platform, and make sure that the blue cover and title details say ¨Fall 2014¨.

Or go to for selected direct links.

Publishers’ Forum in Berlin 2015: Preview lead topics and themes.

How to Re-construct Publishing: Competing Visions, Channels and Audiences”, reads the motto of the next Publishers’ Forum which will take place in Berlin on April 27 and 28, 2015.

Find out about lead topics, and themes, and register to get updates as speakers and sessions will be announced in the weeks and months ahead.

And be sure to secure your ticket at the attractive “Early Bird” rate.

The brand new website of Publishers’ Forum brings you all the information you need.

Join us for the Frankfurt CEO Talks 2014: The Strategist’s Perspective.

A set of three debates with international business leaders will introduce HarperCollins’ new strategies, Brazil’s leading publishing and bookselling group Saraiva and Axel Springer’s digital agenda.

Consolidation in the publishing industry, emerging economies, educational publishing, digital strategies and the globalization of the book business, are the topics in the public interviews presented by Livres Hebdo, with The Bookseller, buchreport, PublishNews Brazil, Publishers Weekly, and the Frankfurt Book Fair Business Club, featuring the Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry 2014.

Understanding the current change of the international book business, as a complex process driven by the forces of globalization, digital transformation, industry consolidation, with new players and strong innovative impulses on an old trade, comes as a challenge.

This year’s Frankfurt CEO Talks will introduce a series of interviews with three preeminent top executives from three outstanding international publishing groups. Initiated by five leading international trade publications, who can dwell upon to date market insights from their Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry, and organized together with the new Frankfurt Business Club, these events will offer a wealth of current information together with unique insights.

The Frankfurt CEO Talks will be held on three consecutive days, to presenting the following topics and guests:

Innovation at a Global Scale: The example of HarperCollins.
Brian Murray
, President and Chief Executive Officer of HarperCollins Publishers, will be the sole speaker on Wednesday, October 8, 2014, from 14:00 to 15:30.

Creating tomorrow’s book and learning environment: The example of Brazil.

Michel Levy, Chief Executive Officer of Saraiva Group, and Mauricio Fanganiello, Managing Director of Saraiva’s Publishing Division, will speak on Thursday, October 9, 2014, from 14:00 to 15:00, about their company’s leading position and give an overview of Brazil’s compelling book and educational market environment.

Publishing at the Speed of Silicon Valley: Axel Springer’s digital agenda.

Christoph Keese, born in 1964, is Executive Vice President of Axel Springer SE, Europe’s largest news publisher, on Friday, October 10, 2014, from 9:30 to 10:30, will shed light on his group’s digital media strategy. This talk will be integrated in the Frankfurt Story Drive conference.

All three CEO Talks will be moderated by Rüdiger Wischenbart, and take place in the Frankfurt Business Club at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Hall 4.  The events on Wednesday and Thursday will be held in hall 4.0, room Europa, the Friday session will take place in hall 4.2., room Dimension.


About the guest speakers:

Brian Murray is President and Chief Executive Officer of HarperCollins Publishers. HarperCollins is one of the world’s largest English-language publisher of consumer books, and has publishing operations in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and India. More than 3,000 new titles are published each year, by 60 branded imprints across all major English language markets. Since being appointed CEO, in 2008, Murray has led the transformation of HarperCollins from a traditional print publishing company to a dynamic print and digital publishing company generating $200M in digital revenues. Most recently, Brian Murray led the purchase of Harlequin, the internationally leading publisher of romance fiction, the latest in a series of acquisitions under his stewardship. HarperCollins being a subsidiary of News Corporation, its book publishing activities are immersed in a broader context of a leading global group that includes diversified media, news, education, and information services.

Michel Levy is the Chief Executive Officer of Saraiva Group, which comprises the largest Brazilian bookstore chain with 114 stores, a leading book e-commerce operation with its own e-book platform, a highly profitable publishing house that operates across all major educational fields, including K12, high education and vocational, and also a growing school system. Levy has broad experience in the technology and telecommunications industries. In the 80s, he founded and ran the CompuMarketing Group, which operated in the IT and software distribution areas. He served as the operations director of BCP Telecomunicacões, and managing director of the paging company of Motorola in Brazil. Before being appointed CEO of Microsoft Brazil in October 2006, where he stayed until 2013, Levy held the position of COO of TIM, one of Brazil’s largest mobile phone operators. Levy has earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of São Paulo, and a Master’s Degree from Stanford University.

Mauricio Fanganiello is the Managing Director of Saraiva’s Publishing Division, which publishes around 500 titles per year and is an important content supplier to the Brazilian Ministry of Education. Saraiva operates across all educational fields, but it is particularly strong in K12, Law and Business Administration books. It also has a trade imprint. Mauricio majored in Business Administration at the prestigious Fundação Getulio Vargas, where he also continued his post-graduate studies. He started his career in the financial markets working for companies such as Chemical Bank and Itaú Bank. He joined Saraiva in 1997. Before being appointed to his current position, Mauricio worked in several areas inside the Saraiva Group, such as planning, investors relations, business development and digital content. He certainly is one of the sharpest minds in the Brazilian educational book industry today and has a very broad overview of the educational market.

Christoph Keese, born in 1964, is Executive Vice President of Axel Springer SE, Europe’s largest news publisher and leading digital media company. He leads the effort to transform traditional and print publishing to digital and define Axel Springer’s position in the new ecosystem of quality web media. Prior to his current position, Mr. Keese was Senior Vice President Public Affairs and Investor Relations. He served as editor-in-chief for the leading Sunday newspaper WELT am SONNTAG from May 2004 onwards, acting in parallel as editor-in-chief of news portal WELT ONLINE from 2006 until 2008 as well as heading the Board of Editors of WELT Group. In 2013, he spent six months in Palo Alto, CA, to study Silicon Valley and find new business opportunities for Axel Springer. His new book will be about disruptive change and its impact on our lives. “Silicon Valley – What to expect from the most powerful region in the world” will be published by Random House on September 22, 2014.

“Tendencias globales en el sector editorial 2014″ ¡Descárgalo ahora gratis!

We can proudly announce the release of the Spanish version of our “White Paper on Global Trends in Publishing 2014“, sponsored by and the Frankfurt Book Fair Business Club.

Con el nuevo informe “Tendencias globales en el sector editorial 2014”, el Business Club de la Feria del Libro de Fráncfort ha elaborado una visión conjunta de las actuales novedades y de las fuerzas impulsoras de la transformación de la industria editorial internacional. El autor del informe es el conocido experto de la industria Rüdiger Wischenbart. La versión en español ha sido traducida y adaptada por

Para recibir el libro blanco gratuitamente, regístrate aquí, por favor. Después de confirmar tu dirección de email, recibirás otro correo electrónico con un enlace para descargar el informe “Tendencias globales en el sector editorial 2014”.
Novedad en 2014: El Business Club de la Feria del Libro de Fráncfort.
¿Quieres aprender más sobre las tendencias actuales del mercado global y sobre los cambios que acontecen en la industria? Únete al Business Club hoy mismo.


Random House Germany drops DRM for books – by mistake. A crack in the Adobe wall?

A week ago, German ebook buyers noticed in total surprise that ebooks from Random House – Germany’s by far largest publishing group – could be purchased without hard DRM. This was an ever more astounding discovery, as the group had not given any prior notice to such a change of minds.

So far, hard DRM had been hardwired in the DNA of big German publishing groups, notably Holtzbrinck (with S. Fischer or Rowohlt), Bonnier (Ullstein, Piper, Carlsen), or Random House (aka Bertelsmann), as to the trade association Börsenverein as well.

Well, it was only a glitch. Or, as Libreka explained, the German trade association’s own distribution platform, which served the RH titles: Some technical switch at RH had been misinterpreted by Libreka’s system – and that was that.

Was it only a glitch?

In fact, several mid-sized German publishers already have abandoned hard DRM, such as prestigeous Hanser, or more recently Hoffman & Campe. However, I am not sure if any consumers have noticed their move towards convenience thus far.

Dismissing hard DRM altogether would be “the smartest thing to do for publishers”, argued the (e-)reading blog

One week later, nothing has happened though.

This is perhaps the biggest PR opportunity that German publishers have missed for years, for gaining headway in both of their fiercest, and most relevant battles:

– For winning over the minds and hearts of consumers (aka readers), as a bold move would have been to say: We trust you, as our most loyal partners, and prefer to offer you convenience, at our risk; because in the ever shrinking print trade book market, ebooks are the growth segment, hence the future element for the entire book business;

– In competing the prevalence of Amazon in the German market, both in print and ebook retail, by emphasizing DRM free offers as a convenience to their customers, and thereby regaining control over that key issue of who defines the market environment: The traditional local players, or (from such a ‘turf wars’ perspective), that challenger of Amazon, who had come in from afar (as the local players would want to portray the company from Seattle, whose base in Munich however was their first venture internationally, back in 1998).

In a few weeks, the Frankfurt Book Fair will open, as a perfect venue and PR opportunity for publishers to reaching out beyond the so far mostly walled-off perspectives on eBooks and innovation, by embracing their readers.

What, one week ago, perhaps really had been just an odd glitch, could then evolve into a crack in the wall of hard and consumer-unfriendly DRM for ebooks – a timely crack indeed, occuring exactly 25 years post the opening in the Berlin Wall, which had brought the cold war to an end.

From a reader’s, or consumer’s perspective, but perhaps also from a publisher’s point of view, it might indeed be simply the “smartest” (, and technically, the simplest thing to do, in order to leverage what ebooks can add to that good old trade of books.

Why the protest of authors in the Amazon vs. publishers fight opens a new chapter

With the authors stepping into the arena, the current controversy between Amazon and major publishing groups – so far: Hachette and Bonnier – brings into the debate the fundamental quality it deserves. What we are seeing is in fact a watershed moment in the evolution of the digital economy for cultural content.

In an essay, and manifesto, in Perlentaucher (in German), I argue why this is so important, and why 3 lines of action will be needed to maintain a balanced and diverse ecosystem of writing, publishing (plus distribution) and reading:

  • Assure a fair economic context that does NOT play to the advantage of global players against locals (with the new European tax regimes being a good step in the right direction);
  • Reform and adapt copyright to meet today’s cultural consumer practices, by notably introducing a concept of “fair use“, backed up with transparent compensation for authors and other creators of works;
  • Open and encorage not-for-profit environments for the production and dissemination of those works of art and culture that cannot be sustained commercially under today’s circumstances.

A more detailed English summary will follow here.

2014 Frankfurt CEO Talk featuring Brian Murray, President and Chief Executive Officer of HarperCollins Publishers.

A debate on consolidation, digital integration, and globalization in publishing, presented by Livres Hebdo, with The Bookseller, buchreport, PublishNews Brazil, Publishers Weekly, and the Frankfurt Book Fair Business Club, featuring the Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry 2014.


Wednesday October 8, 2014, from 14:00 to 15:30

Frankfurt Book Fair, Hall 4.0, Frankfurt Business Club.

Brian Murray, President and Chief Executive Officer of HarperCollins Publishers, will be the sole speaker at the Wednesday edition of this year’s Frankfurt CEO talk. The discussion will focus on the current transformation of the global book business.

Murray will be interviewed for 60 minutes by the editors of Livres Hebdo, The Bookseller, buchreport, PublishNews Brazil and Publishers Weekly, in the context of this year’s Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry, in cooperation with the Frankfurt Book Fair Business Club. The event will be moderated by Rüdiger Wischenbart. A following 30 minutes Q&A session with Brian Murray will be accessible exclusively to members of the Frankfurt Book Fair Business Club.

Since being appointed CEO, in 2008, Murray has led the transformation of HarperCollins from a traditional print publishing company to a dynamic print and digital publishing company generating $200M in digital revenues. Most recently, Brian Murray led the purchase of Harlequin, the internationally leading publisher of romance fiction, the latest in a series of acquisitions under his stewardship.

HarperCollins being a subsidiary of News Corporation, its book publishing activities are immersed in a broader context of a leading global group that includes diversified media, news, education, and information services.

On Thursday October 9, and Friday October 10, additional debates organized by the same partners, will introduce another two leaders of the global book business, with names being announced separately.

Jeff Almighty: Kindle Unlimited is about leveraging access to Amazon’s mega catalogue, and control of the entire value chain.

Kindle Unlimited is not just another subscription offer, but yet another key component in Amazons 2 central strategic lines of action: First of all, to organize access to the world’s largest catalogue for reading (and making $$$ as a collateral benefit – which will never bring significant income for anyone else but the by far strongest player(s) around). And second, this helps very much in the ambition of controling the entire value chain (or more radically: to replace all the other competitors, by one walled empire, defined by Amazon).

In this context, Kindle Unlimited can be huge, because it confronts traditional publishers with nothing less than an altogether new, and radically different, business modell then what used to be the bread and butter for 2 centuries: To sell and buy books one copy at a time. Including all those existing author contracts that, again, compensate the creators with a cut on that old model.

For Amazon, as the aggregator and community hub, it is relatively easy to make that radical switch. For the publishers, and everybody else, this will cause a huge headache. It will ever more benefit only the very few peak bestselling authors (and perhaps the largest publishing giants), and further dilute income, and sustainability for all of the rest.

The momentum of Amazon’s catalogue building, and now the launch for Kindle Unimited reminds me of its behind the scene frenzy before the introduction of the Kindle, back in 2007. Yes, back then, the Bg Six were largely on board, which is not the case now. But re-consider the hardball game with Hachette, or the gossip about talks with Simon & Schuster, in the light of Kindle Unlimted. These confrontations come in handy now, before the backdrop of yet another Amazon controled sales channel, and a huge handle in tightening up the Amazon consumer community – and to show everybody the sign on the wall, which reads: Be careful, and think what it would mean to NOT have your titles prominently featured by us.

Jeff Almighty has a strong run these times. It will require a lot of ingenuity, and cold blood, for everybode else to come up with a good answer to him.

This is what I argue in an essay (in German) about the possibile impact of Kindle Unlimited‘s launch, published by Die Welt today. Podcast (in deutsch, von Deutschlandradio) hier.

Global Trends in Publishing: An analysis of developments, key figures and driving forces.

Find a brand new White Paper for free download, which we prepared on behalf of the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The transformation of the book publishing industry is governed by the transition from print to digital, and by globalization. This has triggered a wave of consolidation among the traditional big players of the sector – with the Penguin Random House merger being only the tip of the iceberg. At the same time, new players enter the field – as mirrored drastically in the ongoing conflicts around Amazon.

But also globalization impacts heavily. New markets have emerged, including the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – which follow highly diverse trajectories, presenting opportunities for growth, but also becoming target markets for the biggest actors from North America and Europe.

The recent evolution of ebook markets, which has seen significant market share so far only in a few countries, led by the United States and the United Kingdom, with Germany joining this club as the first non-English market.

All this hits the book business with disruptive force. The White Paper “Global Trends in Publishing” summarizes key figures and insights to put these developments into perspective.

For updates, follow us on Twitter at @wischenbart and find the Global eBook report at

Understanding the reader requires not just a direct marketing plan, but listening to the consumers. Thoughts from the buchreport360 seminar.

The website of HarperCollins, one of the Big Five English language publishers, welcomes visitors – with a shop. A feature that could be just normal is currently big news among observers of international book markets. Why so?

While the call that publishers need to communicate directly with consumers has been repeated time and again, little has been done to make such a direct exchange a practical reality, in fact.

Of course, most publishers, big and small, have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, and a growing number of authors want to have their dedicated web presence supported by their publishers. But, many book professionals concede, not very many books find their way into the hands of readers in ways that can really be linked to such (expensive) digital initiatives.

One of the reasons for this shortcoming is that many such efforts are built like a preacher’s pulpit, focusing only on how to get the word out about an author, or a book. The other half of the exercise is missing though: A built in listening post, that allows the publisher, the marketing and communication team, and the author to listen to what the readers have to say.

At a one day seminar last week, branded buchreport360, this was all differnt. Most of the conversation had focused on how to make that return channel a key to the entire exercise. And clearly, selling books direct to consumers – and thereby learning what works, what doesn’t, and how so, exactly – engages the publisher in a much stronger way, and triggers a learning curve that no feedback from booksellers can replace. (And of course, this back link is not created as a re-placement for the booksellers and their wisdom, not at all).

The trick of listening – and not just preaching, or promoting – may be seen as banal. But it entirely re-frames the issue of  both direct-to consumer marketing, and of understanding consumer data by the same move.

This simple, yet powerful insight is what I brought home from  buchreport360 last week, where I had the pleasure to help preparing and moderating some of the sessions,  with, among others, Charlie Redmaine, CEO UK of HarperCollins (and formerly CEO of Pottermore) , Laura Bijelic, head of the reader platform Bookmarks at Random House UK and Dutch book and culture nerd Eppo van Nispen.

One could also add: Opening your shop is not just about selling books. It is as much about inviting your readers to talk to you, and to have someone in your publishing house who is prepared to lend an ear. Simple. But effective indeed.

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