The Book Ecosystem – German version!

At the Leipzig Book Fair, which closed yesterday, a colorful meeting ground for authors, readers and other book people (plus thousands of Manga lovers disguised as their favorite characters in play), the „book“ was supposedly the real thing, as opposed to the *e*. And yet, there was, probably for the first time in Germany, a broad consensus about ebooks to have started their journey with readers, in „real“. While in opening addresses, there was still talk about the „end“ of book culture as we know it, it may be more interesting to understand what this means, practically. So I added a few thoughts on the „ecosystem of books and reading“ in my column „Virtualienmarkt“ at Perlentaucher. In case your German is rusty, try Google translation, it works good enough to get a read.

The Diversity Report 2010 is out: Mapping and analysing literary translations in Europe

The Diversity Report 2010 aims at portraying and mapping how a significant sample of the best renowned contemporary authors of literary fiction in Europe shape cultural diversity (and its limits) across 15 European book markets.

Translation of works of fiction makes stories, memories and idea travel across cultural boundaries. And literary authors and their work stand for the cultural richness of this continent.

However, our understanding of the flows of – and the barriers to – translation mostly lacks the empirical groundwork for a solid analysis.

Building on its two preceding reports, the Diversity Report 2010 will track ca. 200 well established fiction authors and their work across large parts of the European book markets and hence the cultural landscapes for a detailed account of

•  Who is translated into which languages, and who is not;

•  What languages are more receptive for translations, or are better received by other territories, than others;

•  What are the overarching patterns and trends with regard to translations of the core of European contemporary fiction?

Surveyed authors will include writers from English (British and South African), French, German, Austrian, Spanish, Swedish, Italian as well as, with specific emphasis, Central and Southeast Europe.

The Diversity Report 2010 will be presented and debated on March 31 st , 2011, at the World Book Summit 2011 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. ( ) and at the London Book Fair, Centre for Literary Translation on April 12, 2011, 10 to 11 am.

eBooks: Kleine Verschiebung, grosse Wirkung!

Natürlich ist die Suche nach eBooks noch ziemlich mühsam, zu unberechenbar ist das Angebot, zu willkürlich, was von Verlagen digital zum sofortigen Download angeboten wird, und was nicht. Und die Wirrungen enden nicht mit der erfolgreichen Suche. Die fangen mit dem Fund erst so richtig an.

Das Auffälligste ist gewiss, wie durchgängig hier, auch bei deutschen Angeboten, plötzlich über den Preis geworben wird. „Jetzt kaufen. Print Ausgabe 31,00 Euro – durchgestrichen. eBook 26,99. Sie sparen 5,01. Sofort lieferbar (Download)“. Darunter wartet schon der „Warenkorb“.

Weiter lesen hier.

EBooks unterm Weihnachtsbaum – eine schöne Bescherung!

„Schatz, legst Du schon mal die eBooks unter den Weihnachtsbaum?“ Der Satz wird diesmal noch nicht ganz so häufig ins Wohnzimmer gerufen werden, aber es wird ihn geben. Er wird sich diesmal noch eher auf kleine Kartonschächtelchen mit den Lesegeräten darin beziehen, denn die Bücher selbst, jeweils gerade mal eine kleine elektronische Datei, in ein paar Sekunden aus dem Netz geladen, benötigen keine Verpackung, sondern nur ein Preisschild – zum Beispiel für einen Weihnachtsgutschein.

Aber das Preisschild wird verwirrend sein und vielen aus der Branche erhebliches Kopfzerbrechen bereiten. Und das hat erst einmal gar nichts mit den festen Buchpreisen zu tun, sondern mit der neuen digitalen Welt.


Deutscher Buchpreis: Congrats to Jung und Jung Verlag and winning author Melinda Nadj Abonji (and a quick foot note)!

With Melinda Nadj Abonji winning the Deutscher Buchpreis very unexpectedly (and Jung und Jung Verlag proving in a most stunning way that a very small publisher can land a very big hit in German language lands indeed!) I am, first of all, in line for all the best wishes! What an accomplishment!

This said – and in an earlier bet on this blog, based on market data, wrongly  predicting a head on head race between Autrian Doron Rabinovici and German Bachmann Prize winner Peter Wawerzinek, I must add that I am of course very pleased with the final result.

This just adds evidence that book landscapes are much more diverse and open to new voices, and new publishers, small and big, than many would suspect. Initiative, good knowledge of literature AND the trade pay off, and it is just not true that successful literature in Europe is more or less always much of the same. NO.

So we will very closely map incoming data about what this surprise evening will set off – and report here as well as through the channels of professional publishing media.

Vorauswertung zum Deutschen Buchpreis 2010: Kopf an Kopf zwischen Wawerzinek und Rabinovici

Ginge es nach der Gunst von Lesern und (online) Buchkäufern, dann müsste die Entscheidung zum Deutschen Buchpreis heute Abend in einem Kopf an Kopf Rennen zwischen Peter Wawerzinek(„Rabenliebe“, Galiani) und DoronRabinovici(„Andernorts“, Suhrkamp) fallen.
Dies zeigt eine Auswertung, basierend auf Daten von von der Veröffentlichung der LonglistEnde August bis gestern, Sonntag 3. Oktober 2010 zur Entwicklung des Verkaufsranges wie auch der Bewertungen und Rezensionen von Lesern.
Der diesjährige Bachmann-Preisträger Wawerzinekging als klarer Favorit in die Vorrunde zu diesem medial wie auch am deutschen Buchmarkt präsentesten Preis.
Rabinovicikonnte allerdings in den letzten beiden Wochen unübersehbar an Publikums-wie Medienwahrnehmung zulegen.
Zu den Einzelheiten siehe unten die Datenauswertungen von Rüdiger Wischenbart Content andConsulting.

The Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry 2010: Join us at the Frankfurt Book Fair for a debate with industry leaders on facts, trends and outlooks

The Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry 2010:
Facts, Trends, Outlook.
Industry leaders discuss the business of publishing today

Wednesday, October 6, 2010, 14:30 – 16:00
Frankfurt Book Fair, hall 4.2, Room Dimension
Organiser: Livres Hebdo with buchreport, Publishers Weekly and The Bookseller.

What is the state of the publishing industry? What are the powerhouses, what the strategies and the perspectives for winning the game of change? How is the complex relationship between publishers and retail evolving in a landscape of changing roles?
Based on the empirical evidence as presented by the Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry for the fourth year in a row, top representatives of leading global trade publishing and retail groups discuss where the business is going.
Two years into the financial crisis as well as into the take off of e-Books, the consolidation and the globalization of the business, as well as the challenges and opportunities from digital innovation are on top of everyone’s agenda.
But what does this mean, really?
Initiated in 2007 by the French book trade magazine Livres Hebdo, and co-published by buchreport (Germany), Publishers Weekly (US), and The Bookseller (UK), the Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry is updated annually and has been researched by Rüdiger Wischenbart Content and Consulting.
In cooperation with the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Jesús Badenes, Managing director books, Planeta
Peter Field, CEO Penguin, UK
Carolyn Reidy, President and CEO, Simon & Schuster
Pascal Zimmer, Managing director, Libri, Germany

Moderated by Fabrice Piault and Rüdiger Wischenbart

So what did you learn in Frankfurt this year?

…I would be asked,

fbm2009-panorama while still recovering from the ritual book fair cold & cough, and at the same time recapitulating the many many chats and conversations with friends and colleagues, customers and partners in 4 days that feel like, frankly, like a couple of weeks.

Thinking now, in retrospective, of all the self appointed custodians in defense of  „holy culture“ and the „holy book“, I must stress: Oh yes, how right they are! Look at my friend Gwyn, a true digerati indeed. What is he doing? Feeding his laptop a bun? Confounding reality and those virtual illusions? Oh my god!

We see, in fact, that the end of reason must be near indeed!


And yet, that future has already a long history, with lots of lost memories…

…remember this antique reading device from Sony? Was it in the good old 20th century? Or even earlier?


I think to remember some distant past.

Or that Rocket e-Book!


The funny thing about these e-readers on display at this year’s Frankfurt book fair, however, was the surprising fact to find them, the old ones as well as the most recent exemples, in a section called

…“Non Books“!


Whoever had decided this categorization was a wise person in fact. Much wiser than most publishing executives, and more knowledgable than all thoase association officials and conference organizers who, as a rule of thumb, tend to miss this crucial point largely: E-Books won’t be just books. They ARE non-books.

Now it is up to us to figure out what they will be really!

Personally, I suppose it is all about reading!


Even if readers don’t always look as we would imagine them.

It is true, that some would prefer that those readers never grow up, really.


This applies to individual readers…

…and even more so to reading communities:


The Islamic Republic of Iran chose to have not only ONE booth, but several, including one in the children section, next to all those Mangas, and one in the Middle East section.

By doing so,  they wanted certainly had the intention to heavily promote their self confidence and their strength – not anticipating at all that, attrackting a load of silent protesters, this would make the protest against each of its stands only much more visible all over the fair!!!

We learn: PR is a tricky thing. This must have also been the lesson taken by the official organizers of China when they opted for displaying not only books from the People’s Republic, but also a selection from Taiwan.


Hower, the ambitious organizers must have picked more books than the censor could read. And some of the books from Taiwan may tackle a sensitive issue which goes officially as the „One China Principle“.

Not being sure what these books contained exactly, the censor decided to place a bright green sticker, in Chinese and English, on every single Taiwan book chosen for the official selection.

This wonderful sticker read: „Any claim denying the One-China Principle in this book will be rejected.“


With a sense of irony, one may see in this action a globalized version of the Google-settlement „opt-out“ clause! We could dream up such „opt out“ references for many funny opportunities, I suppose!

Anyhow, it was a good fair


with everyone rushing from hall to hall, and most of us professional attendees were catching, as I already mentioned,  the ritual cold while we were making fun of ourselves.

Keep in touch! And: C u in Frankfurt next year!

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