Why I Am Deeply Concerned: About today’s Vote of the European Parliament on New Copyright Legislation

I thought at first to be ambivalent with regard to today’s vote of the European Parliament to pass new – and highly disputed – legislation on copyright. But the more I re-cap, the more certain I am:

Hardly any author – or creator – will earn an extra dime from a future „ancillary copyright“ (‚Leistungsschutzrecht in German, where that concept originated from), given the typical author contracts with publishers; and second, as importantly, it will create yet another big burden, and risk factor, to any smaller, or non-profit, web content platform, which hosts “significant” amounts of content that they necessarily will want to “promote” – which is the new formula in the proposal that has been approved today by the European Parliament.

So the debate about fundamental rules of conduct in the digital sphere became, more than ever before, a game limited to the ‚big boys‘, like big traditional media, big Internet platforms, and big politics.

The rest of us may hope for a few softening amendments between now and the final vote in January 2019. Yet we will be expected to stay still, and wait for such benevolent gestures from behind the sidelines.

Charming readers – by juggling with numbers. Invitation to a wild ride for publishers.

I peak over the shoulder of a well experienced trade publisher – she, or he, may work in a mid-sized imprint of a major group, or in some independent or even a boutique house -, with a few screens at the desk, a pile of recent charts and market reports to the left, and a smartphone to the right, the latter peeping regularly with some alerts that try to distract the attention of that publishing pilot from writing a paper on the house’s consumer strategy.

She understands that even traditional readers – in their majority urbanites, well educated, over 40 – have seen their ‘mobile time’ rising from modest 26 minutes in 2012 to over one hour in 2017. Among the new generation – we call them ‘Millennial Book Lovers’ -, that ‘mobile time’ has also doubled in the past five years, consuming now almost 3 hours per day.

How „mobile first“ online activities compare between traditional readers and Millennials. However, Time spent on mobile doubled for both respectively over the past few years. Source and courtesy GlobalWebIndex 2018.

The reporters from publishing trade media have alarmed her this past January, that – in Germany –over 6 million book buyers, or customers, have disappeared over the same period of five years, bringing the maximum audience for publishers to 30 million, in a total population of around 80 million.

Our dear German colleague should sigh in relief, as the loss has been much bigger in Spain – with a market decline of over one third since the economic crisis of 2008. Only exports into Latin America held many houses afloat, accounting for up to half of all sales. And yet, the slide seems to continue, after some cautious news lately. Italy, too, has been shaken severely, but here, some solid bottom seems to have formed recently, if at the price of huge consolidation among trade publishers.

Even in Holland, traditionally a rock, or better: a dike to hold back the sea and its gushes, numbers show how the market for books has gone down continuously for ten years. More relevant for our publisher though are the shifts in sales channels and consumer habits. Books sold online have increased, and so have e-books for some years. A spectacular shift, happening at an amazing pace, comes from library loans, and from subscriptions.

We need to pay attention to many such trends at once, she says while pushing the smart phone a little further away, to escape the distraction.

We need to stick to our bread and butter, she argues now, to the rare books that hit the top of the charts, the well-established authors, well, we even need the copy-cat income, or other cheap thrills, to simply secure a continuous income. Experiments are not only risky and costly, at the worst, they may be a distraction altogether. And if the total number of copies sold may decline, some modest price raises can compensate the moderate loss easily. Book readers are affluent.

Flipping through the reports to her left, she feels comforted by that pattern of lower volume sales, compensated by increased turnover in countries as diverse as Germany, Great Britain or the Netherlands.

Oh, and a little more action in the children’s and adult department also never fails entirely, as the numbers show.

But woop. What is this? A Youtuber makes the number 1 bestseller – in fiction! In Germany! How is this possible? It is not even a real book, is it? The gamer needed a second author to help with the writing. A call to the market research agency confirms that they had intercepted a few early indicators on social media. But a number 1 in fiction? Oh, and the book seems to be out of stock, anyway. Well, not entirely. And where is it sold exactly? In bookstores? Amazon does not seem to be in the lead here. Really? How to find out? The Youtubers’ Facebook pages show not a single entry in a few months. No easy answers are available.

That Youtuber is a video person in the first place. But aren’t those videos really silly? Why on earth did they turn that into a book? Can we call on our bloggers, and what do our influencers say? We have started to talk to influencers, we did! But it turns out, they don’t know. Lately, we had read about video picking up on Social!

As the publisher turns around in a surprise move, I, thus far the invisible observer in the back, I get caught her gaze, as if I held a smoking gun in my fist.

In fact, I don’t. But I seize the opportunity of the moment to ask a question that is nagging me for some time: “What do you have, my dear publisher, in terms of content, of formatted stuff, of salable products, and as free goodies to draw attention, that you can feed into all those pipes and channels and platforms? How many bits and pieces can you sell for under 3 Euros or Dollars or Pound Sterling? How much audio do you have to make a little noise – and how much visuals that are fun to share? And how good are you at using that material, to generate customer leads, and learn, ideally in real time, what produces echoes, and what vaporizes? Oh, and what do you make of insights like ‘audio books’ are consumed by more men than women, while e-books are a women readers’ domain? And how much deeper are you prepared to go, when it comes to understanding your growing number of target audiences?” Well, these were more questions than only one, I admit.

What, for instance, is a publisher’s pitch to an airline, for licensing their new audio book titles for in-flight streaming? And what is the deal in compensation that they want to propose to the authors, and their agents?

Did you just say, Madam or Sir, that following so many tracks at once, all the time, is too challenging, too costly, too chaotic? That you cannot afford to burn even more money with interns doing time on Facebook, that in the end never sell books in any tangible ways, anyway?

Your competitors like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Audible will fill the gap willingly.

That brings me to my other question to the publisher: Who on your staff and around your own house report back, in some structured way, on what they read, or how their kids operate their smartphones. You understand what I mean. You have hired all those curious minds and eyes, who are all doing ‘social’ every day, I their leisure time! Some of them might feel flattered if they would be asked for their experience. Did you ask them already?

I admit, this will never be an orderly process, at least for some time. But right now, my inkling is that a lot of truly critical information sits in drawers and on hard disks, underused, if noticed at all.

We see, day by day, how publishing is getting ever more segmented. From formerly three distinct sectors, trade or consumer versus educational versus professional or academic, we have moved into an ever-thinner slicing of the cake that used to be served in the business of books.

Today, the top tier of blockbuster bestsellers is increasingly governed by agents. On the other end of the scale, in trade, self-publishing has formed an expanding segment, that increasingly follows its own paths to consumers. Here the new big entrants come into play. All around, you can find highly integrated ecosystems, not just Amazon, but platforms turning into cross-media aggregators like Wattpad Studios. They frame all the multiple conversations of people. To make it worse, those ecosystems are currently splitting up and specializing: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp. You can bet that while you watch, more are to emerge soon.

Where, and how, can you find your room to breathe, and operate, and bond with your customers, the readers!

To charm the consumers and readers in those competitive economies of attention, it will not be good enough to go simply after the familiar faces, that are “traditional readers and book buyers”. You will not build your community of readers in the lazy thought of harvesting just the low hanging fruit.

Instead, a dramatic stretch will be required, to not loose on the core audiences, while having eyes and ears and minds wide open to identify, in the center of any publishing organization, what is going on out there.

In a new “the winner takes it all” competition, which has already extended into publishers’ traditionally territory, one must be alert to where the stories play, in which formats, how trusted knowledge can team up with the right points of access, and the convenience provided by some merchants of such content.

The old as much as the new business models will need to find hybrid ways of exploitation, centered not on the middle men, like publishers or retailers, but on the authors, and the consumers.

Playing with the numbers provides the single most important set of navigational tools in such an environment. But for (trade) publishers, it will often be rather small sets of data, and not the ‘Big Data’ that telecommunication operators, consumer goods businesses or the global platform creators can generate and analyze. Publishers’ comparative ‘small’ data will for some time be brought to life by people – by staff, in the organization, when it is organized in efficient ways.

Charming readers, on a basis of juggling with well-founded insights often forms a critical competitive advantage in turbulent landscapes. This is not a privilege of a few corporate giants.

Data have become a commodity. Reading those numbers is the challenging exercise. You and your teams can learn these skills. The findings can be turned into a competitive difference in deciding the outcome of the game you are in. Left and right, new and often much smaller initiatives show how it works. Indeed, it does work.


The collection of examples, hints and observations in this article draws particularly on data and insights from around a dozen of market research organizations and publishing professionals from across Europe, especially Nielsen BookScan (on United Kingdom, Spain and Italy), Centraal Boekhuis (The Netherlands) and Media Control (Germany), the Federation of European Publishers, IG Digital of Börsenverein (Germany), as well as the GlobalWebIndex (reading and mobile), who presented them at the Publishers’ Forum on April 26 & 27, 2018, in Berlin.

Key parts of these presentations are available online at Publishers‘ Forum.  The program of this event has been curated by us, in an appointment by The Publishers’ Forum GmbH, a Klopotek company.

Not one prediction about ebooks has been correct so far. Why? A summer rant.

Let’s face the simple truth: Not one prediction about ebooks (as far as I know) has been correct so far:

No, ebooks will NOT go away any time soon. But no, again, they will not replace printed books, not even mass paperbacks, within a decade or so.

Thus far, ebooks have strongly impacted only on some markets: English language (US, UK), and genre fiction (big fiction bestsellers, fantasy, romance, young adult) – and ebooks helped propel self-publishing.

Interestingly, in the various – and very diverse – Non-English markets of Europe, ebooks have stalled early on, in a very different pattern from US or UK. But strangely, they behaved remarkably similar for those niches of genre fiction and blockbuster novels (and found plenty of people downloading those in English, and not, say, in Slovenian or Dutch translations).

Publishers, particularly in Europe, have had their hand in all this, by keeping prices high, and by believing in the gospel of iron cast copyright protection technology (DRM).

Now several of the big companies start learning lesson 01: They abandon hard DRM, and replace it by water marking – to get „rid of a road block“ (phrases buchreport, reporting on Holtzbrinck giving up hard DRM for Germany, following suit after Bonnier had decided likewise in June, and a growing number of others before that). In Italy or Scandinavia, hard DRM has had no strong showing from the beginning almost.

My personal list of ebook headaches

Every time I purchase a (non Kindle/Amazon) ebook (because I dislike those walled gardens), I firmly struggle, and hate, the lack of usability on ANY of the major ebook platforms I tend to use. Here are some real life examples:

  • Kobo has (for me) a terrible search engine, as it makes some kind of a difference for me with an Austrian account (as opposed, it seems, to what they have for a German user – argh!!!). Behind that riddle seems to sit a mix of territorial rights and bad meta data – which doesn’t help me a lot, I must say;
  • Ebook.de has a search engine and shop environment which together seem to visualize every step of development and changing partnerships that the platform has had to serve in the past several years – and even getting a title into a bookmark list, instead of the buy basket takes a little adventure in figuring out how, and why, a function changes names along the process;
  • Direct purchases at notably British publishers‘ websites often confront the mysterious red lines of territorial rights;
  • Buying a French book teaches you a thorough lesson about how France wants to be different – it works in the end, but you better bring some time, and all your wits and persistence.

I assume you do NOT want me to go on and on and on.

Perhaps I am not the only one who got frustrated. Many a reader may have had enough – and a number has moved over to more easy-to-use piracy offerings. Not necessarily because they want „to steal the book„. But because … well, I do not want to entering guessing either.

Here is my main concern: We simply do not know.

We learn about a drop in ebook sales of 2.5% in the US (AAP StatShot, quoted in Publishers Weekly). But what does this mean? Again a few exemplary thoughts:

We know how unevenly ebook sales are across genres, but also publishers. From Europe, I know that ebooks seem to privilege massively the biggest houses, plus a few more publishers who really drive digital.

In Germany, a few independent houses (Luebbe, Aufbau) report that their ebook revenue share is over 15%. Even in ebook agnostic France, a few romance and erotica specialists claim strong digital sales, and we know that a few blockbuster memoirs found their way well onto readers‘ screens, albeit through illegal downloads.

For Germany, or France, we still do not have any meaningful break out numbers, by genre, or monthly developments, but only broad overall figures for, supposedly, all of „trade“ or consumer publishing, which are basically meaningless. We do not even know, for the industry, the part that year end holiday sales play, for digital sales. And the same applies to any other EU market aside from the UK.

Which also means that we have no idea whatsoever of the real impact of piracy on (p&e) book sales. We simply don’t know. (Just as a thought experiment: Are illegal sales curbing down mostly niche titles, available on highly proficient illegal platforms, and are particularly harmful to diversity of titles published by those specialist copyright holders? Or  are the mostly a nuisance to blockbuster fiction and their ‚Big Houses‚ publishers? Or is the leakage paramount? We don’t know.)

What I could see in fact, through our research, is a pretty staggering increase in page visits at major piracy sites across European markets, and both their usability as well as the mounting emphasis from these sites (they pretend, seriously, to foster ‚reading culture‘) which are obviously well echoed by readers. Not by nerds or hackers, but by the most serious, ambitious page devouring folks!)

We have documented some of this in the Global eBook report 2015, and plan for some updates, notably on pricing and on piracy, for autumn 2015.

But here are already a few anticipating thoughts:

Ebooks are NOT a marginal bug in the book publishing system, as a market share (in Europe) of overall 2, 3 or 4% of all consumer sales might indicate. Ebooks interfere with the entire system, as they impact on a number of very sensitive points, by exercising significant leverage.

Most prominently, they work most directly with all kinds of particularly dedicated consumers who specialize heavily on one niche, who read much more than average, etc.

Second, ebooks set a precedent for many more readers, by bringing the ‚book‚ (that previously ‚special‚ thing) on par with all other media content, which literally trains readers at comparing their pricing as well as the convenience of access, and – very important for the cultural classes – their ‚symbolic status‚, with other formats, other content and media, on which they spend time and money.

Third, when the new ‚user experience‚ with books compares poorly with other stuff, the next exit might be a piracy site.

I made an effort of not mentioning the Amazon factor so far in that lengthy story. But here it enters the stage, unavoidably. The ‚A-impact‚ is perhaps not primarily what Amazon is blamed for, its tax-optimizing habits, or its tough negotiations with publishers over margins. Amazon’s main threat comes probably from their offer of being „the other – who claims to re-invent the future of books and reading, and of all other digital media content anyway. Which is also arguably Amazon’s softest spot: Imagine from how many sides and angles new challengers can – and will! – come in. Amazon’s future is all but secured.

For the old world publishers, who today struggle with the first wave of change, this comes with little relief. But it sure carries a simple lesson:

Ebooks are complicated. They look small, even marginal in many places. But we see how a huge, old dyke at once gets many little leaks, and readers‘ attention held back for long by that dyke, is curiously exploring all the other leads around.

Publishers, if they want to survive, and fix their dyke, will better learn the tricks of ebooks quickly. Not for today’s minimal revenue share, or flattening growth curve. But to remain their readers‘ best choice tomorrow, again.

How high ebook prices challenge ebook growth. The New York Times confronts PWC’s overoptimistic predictions with our pricing analysis

In its new „Global entertainment and media outlook 2014 – 2018„, PriceWaterhouseCooper (PWC) predicts ebook growth patterns not only for the US (expeciting digital to outgrow print by 2017), but also for a number of European markets. Strangely, France, of all countries, is expected to produce a significant upward curve in ebook sales, similar to Spain, while Germany would lag behind even Italy. Some observers simply likened such predictions to the proverbial tea leaf reading.

The New York Times opted for a more in depth approach to the matter, and compared the PWC Outlook to our analysis of ebook pricing strategies across a half dozen major European ebook markets in the last update to the Global eBook report – and I felt pretty confident, looking at the juxtaposition, that our data analysis is probably a better measure for assessing the growth dynamics, or the limitations of such, in the evolution of key ebook markets. But check out the chart yourself, and make up your mind.


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 Lesen.net.

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“ (Lesen.net), and technically, the simplest thing to do, in order to leverage what ebooks can add to that good old trade of books.

The Weltbild insolvency – Germany is living through its Borders incident

Serious shock waves have been triggered by the announcement of Weltbild filing for insolveny a week ago. The company is one of the largest retailers of books and other media in Europe. Together with Munich based Hugendubel, Weltbild controls Germany’s second largest book chain (behind Thalia), and operates the second largest online platform for books, behind Amazon, and it is a key partner, together with its rival Thalia, of the anti-Amazon ebook Alliance Tolino.

While details of the insolvency and rescue plan may not be clear before March of this year, many observers bet on the heterogenous group’s assets being striped, with the online business forming the core of the valuable pieces to be offered for sale to an investor, while many of the 300 brick and mortar outlets may be doomed.

While initial comments had a tendency to downplay the overall impact on Germany’s book and publishing market, I would disagree, and rather expect this to be the „Borders incident“ for what used to be Europe’s most stable book market. It will shake the Tolino alliance, and thus other initiatives aiming at building local alternatives to the expansion of global players, while Amazon is the likely winner, grabbing much of the market share that Weltbild has grown over the past years, much of it coming from new customer groups rather than from the traditionally conservative book buyers. Also the Weltbild crash must be viewed in line with similar havoc among big book (and media) chains in France (Chapitre, Virgin) or the Netherlands (Selexyz,  Polare).

Find my analysis with more detail at Publishers Weekly here.

Suhrkamp: Die Zahlen hinter der Soap

Natürlich sind die meisten Geschäftszahlen nicht öffentlich, was es schwer macht, sachlich genauer einzuordnen, welche Kräfte und Dynamiken die Causa Suhrkamp tatsächlich bewegen. Denn es ist unwahrscheinlich, dass sich alles nur um jenes Degen-Drama aus schöner Erbin und forschem Parvenü dreht, wie es uns die Berichterstattung vorzumachen versucht. Aber einiges an Eckzahlen gibt es, und erlaubt eine kühlere Bilanz. Der Versuch nachzurechnen ist nachzulesen bei Perlentaucher und im buchreport.

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.

Die Marktmacht von Amazon und wie sich der Zugang zu Büchern verändert. Eine Nahaufnahme.

Amazon gibt immer mehr den Ton an, auch was die Aufmerksamkeit für mögliche nächste Erfolge ausmacht. Die Zeichen stehen auf Sturm


In allen diesen Veränderungen, Verlagerungen und Beschleunigungen kommt den Internetseiten von Amazon eine zentrale Rolle zu. Bestsellerlisten mit ihren zehn oder 20 Spitzentiteln bilden nur die alleroberste Spitze des Eisberges ab. Doch abseits von „Shades“, „Twilight“ oder auch, in bescheidenerem Umfang, Wolfgang Herrndorfs „Tschick“, verästeln und spezialisieren sich die Präferenzen der Lesenden immer weitläufiger. Wir nehmen alle möglichen Informationshappen und Empfehlungsimpulse aus vielen Richtungen auf und steuern damit die Entscheidung, welches Buch wir als Nächstes öffnen. Um hier etwas Übersicht zu gewinnen, auch um das Aufgeschnappte zu überprüfen oder weitere Meinungen einzuholen, klicken viele immer regelmäßiger dann bei Amazon. Denn dort gibt es kurze Beschreibungen, eben die Bewertungen von Lesern mit Sternchen und Besprechungen – inklusive Fakes, aber ich denke, dieser Aspekt wird eher überschätzt -, die Verkaufsplatzierung und den Verweis auf ähnliche Titel zum eben gesuchten.

Genau dies finde ich beim kleinen Buchhändler im Grätzel natürlich auch – vorausgesetzt, ich wohne in einer größeren Stadt. Aber die Ballung an Informationen im Netz wächst.

Mehr im Standard nachlesen.



Weltbild, Urheberrecht (ACTA), Piracy – überall eine lustig verkehrte Welt!

Der Buchhandelskonzern Weltbild soll verkauft werden – aus moralischen Gründen. Oder doch nicht? Kaum haben die katholischen Bischöfe die Kehrtwende beschlossen, steht die Welt der Leselust Kopf: Rechtzeitig zu Urlaubssaison und Strandleselust erscheinen ein, mit Verlaub, Softpornoroman mit dem Titel „Shades of Grey – Geheimes Verlangen“, plus zwei Folgebände, vorgemerkt für Spätsommer und Herbst, und sehr vieles spricht dafür, dass diese Trilogie die Gesamtbilanz des Buchjahres 2012 ganz nachhaltig prägen wird.

Bloß, was macht Weltbild nun damit? Die schlüpfrige Schmonzette boykottieren? Wohl kaum. Den Schmöker in den Läden und Online irgendwo weit hinten verstecken? Schwierig für einen Händler, der so gekonnt auf sein Publikum zugeht. Kaltschnäuzig promoten und abcashen? Wie steht es dann um die eben umkämpfte Glaubwürdigkeit des kirchlichen Eigentümers?

Ähnliche Volten gibt es aber auch bei allerlei anderen Debatten geht es heiter bis wolkig zu. Mehr beim Perlentaucher im Virtualienmarkt.

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