Is “hating Amazon” a good option? A new round in the controvery in Germany, and a reply.
December 5, 2013 by admin
“If I hate a company, it is Amazon”, was the cry of battle that Sibylle Lewitscharoff, winner of the prestigeous BĂĽchner Prize in 2013, offered to her cheering audience at the opening of this year’s Buch Wien fair. As her address was published in Germany, in the daily Die Welt, an avalanche of 1500 posts on Facebook, a couple of hundred reader commentaries and many many tweets followed. However, the response was mixed between approval for the anti Amazon emotions, and more critical comments.
The debate coincided with an interview that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos had given to the CBS “60 minutes” news show, and yes, this was the talk with the book drones. But more interesting to me at least was a short, yet pretty sharp comment of Bezos withÂ regard to the book trade, as he said:
The book markets in Armenia, Georgia and the Ukraine: Globalization and the peripheries
October 31, 2013 by admin
The globalization of the book trade is discussed mostly with regard to the most powerful, plus some emerging markets like Brazil or China. But obviously, the many smaller countries, and those on the peripheries from the centres of globalization, look at a challenging future as well. Local publishers and booksellers have to struggle with a difficult economic environment. Reading elites often import the newest books, in English though, as they do with electronic devices. And often enough, a strong neighbor country competes through regional exports for a culturally fragmented local audience. Armenia, Georgia and the Ukraine are three highly interesting examples for getting an understanding for scenarios of change that are applicable in many parts of todayâ€™s book world.
Invited by the NextPage foundation, we have had the priviledge to act as an external advisor to a project mapping the book markets of Armenia, georgia and the Ukraine. Find the full reports and other relevant information on these countries and their book markets at the BookPlatform website, a summary video of our presentation at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2013, and a short overview of key findings for download here.
Discussing wih Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, how global publishing works, really.
October 9, 2013 by admin
A packed room with 350 visitors of the Frankfurt book fair, including numerous executives from around the world, questions – from my colleagues of Livres, Hebdo, buchreport, The Bookseller, PublishNews Brazil and Publishers Weekly – ranging from “How will you make this merger work”, after he had pushed for forming the largest trade publisher worldwide in today’s industry, to “What was the last book, published NOT by Penguin or Random House, and how did you actually ‘discover’ it (on the table of a friend, said Dohle, switching inadvertedly from English to German, thus making the proof that discovering a good read is very local, not global – but the, at first unnoticed involontary, change of languages gave him an amused, friendly laughter from the audience!).
What are the plans for Penguin Random House in emerging markets like Brazil or China or India? And why is Random House Deutschland, in Munich, not a part of the new entity (but Dohle is the boss for both, on Bertelsmann’s board).
And last but not least a few surprises, when Dohle said for instance (tongue in cheek): “You know, when I was in Brazil, and met those great people at (Brazilian publisher) Companhia das Letras (in which British Penguin had invested earlier), I decided that we just HAD to merge with Penguin, to be a part of this!”
Well, there were many interesting details, amusing sound bites, and pretty thoughtful insights during those 60 minutes. You can hear all of that soon. We will post a complete stream here shortly.
The Global eBook Report update fall 2013 is out: How ebooks are confronting the global with the local in international publishing
October 2, 2013 by admin
How ebooks are confronting the global with the local in international publishing
The Global eBook report provides an overview of internationally emerging ebook markets, with a unique set of data from a wide array of the best available sources, a thorough analysis and a synopsis of key global developments and a broad set of detailed references to both global and local actors, forming a resource for anyone interested in the globalization of digital (book) content production and dissemination.
The report offers a status on the US and UK markets as well as close ups on ebook markets as they take shape across Europe, Brazil, China, India, Russia, and in the Arab world.Â Thematic chapters focus on critical policy debates and on key driving forces, notably ebook bestsellers and pricing strategies across European markets, self-publishing, government regulation, piracy, and the expanding activities of the leading global players such as Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google, and Kobo. Fundamental statistics on the more mature ebook markets in the US and UK serve as benchmarks, to help with the evaluation of data from all other market developments.
Ebooks have become the most relevant driver for growth in international publishing markets, yet confronting local players and traditions with often overwhelming competition from a few global actors, notably Amazon and Apple. In the two largest ebook markets, the United States and the United Kingdom (both with a market share for ebooks of around 20% of trade sales, and 30% in fiction), the increase has plateaued. In the UK, in 2012, thanks to ebook sales, losses in print could be compensated from digital. But everywhere across continental Europe, readers have started to embracing ebooks, notably in fiction. Publishers in Germany see up to 15% of revenues from new fiction titles to coming from digital, while various surveys report overall ebooks as contributing between 7 and 9%. Other markets, like France, Spain or Italy, see a continuous expansion of ebooks, in tandem with a growing penetration of devices, and tablets gaining over e-readers.
To assess trends and developments, more detailed observations, as documented throughout the Global eBook report, become more relevant though.
In the US, over 1,000 ebook titles had sold over 25,000 each by the end of 2012. In France, at 3.1% of market share for ebooks in 2012, one out of five readers says to have already read an ebook. In Sweden and Italy, hard DRM is not the best choice anymore for most publishers. On the crisis stricken Spanish book market, ebooks are taking off faster than elsewhere in Europe, with the most massive discounts against print in Europe.
Pricing is a strategic and complex issue altogether. Aside from summarizing recent legal debates in the US over the â€śagency modelâ€ť, the Global eBook reports tracks the huge differences, and contradictory developments with regard to the cost of an ebook in different markets.
2013 witnesses a boom in both new startups – from specialized ebook publishers to new ebook community and streaming sites â€“ to new alliances of major local players, aiming at confronting the takeover of their markets by the global giants Amazon and Apple. The Tolino platform in Germany has brought together the two leading book chains with a leader in telecommunication, similar to the Spanish Nubico, formed of the largest book club (and publisher) with a telco network.
Also in China, consortia between publishing and bookselling groups with networks emerge by bringing together the strongest domestic players, to limit the inroads from abroad. From France to Brazil to the US, the ebook platform Kobo is forming partnerships with local book chains and independents, to form alternatives to notably a predominance of Amazon.
Almost everywhere, market developments are complemented by controversial policy debates and regulatory efforts, thus emphasizing the deep impact of ebook developments on all aspects of the business and the culture of books and reading.
The Global eBook report can dwell for research and dissemination on a unique network of media partners, including Book Dao (China), Book Industry Magazine (Russia), buchreport (Germany), Dosdoce (Spain), Livres Hebdo (France), Svensk Bokhandel (Sweden), Publish News (Brazil), Publishers Weekly (USA), The Bookseller (United Kingdom) as well as the Frankfurt Academy / ConTec conference.
How and where to get the Global eBook report
The Global eBook report is available in ePub, PDF and Mobi (Kindle) formats, for download at all major ebook platforms, and through direct links from www.global-ebook.com .
From October 1st until 31st, 2013, the download is free of charge.
From November 1st, 2013 on, the report will cost â‚¬ 29.95.
Reading is changing, for sure. In the networks, obviously. But what does this mean?
August 23, 2013 by admin
I’m not sure if I embrace all the casualness in this piece on “networked reading” in The Guardian. But the short article certainly formulates several very important questions with regard to reading.
Reading habits are probably the next frontier in what is changing in the ecosystem of the book (and readers, and authors);
This change will be driven by readers networking their reading experience – plus thoughts, notes, references – through the (social) networks in which they are active;
Today’s biggest behemoths with their highly walled, closed gardens – Amazon, Apple, perhaps also Facebook – may lose ground here quickly; except if they just spend a few zillions to acquire all those new universes; but that would be both sad, and not really plausible;
The process will surely be disruptive for that late 19th century reading concept that overemphasizes the lone, solitary and individual book lover who gets lost in the text, without bothering to share the discoveries even with their closest friends; instead the other pactice of reading, as a magnificent generator of communication, will grow far beyond of what we know today.
But control – social control and mind control – will be a highly critical issue indeed.
Suhrkamp: Die Zahlen hinter der Soap
August 12, 2013 by admin
NatĂĽrlich sind die meisten GeschĂ¤ftszahlen nicht Ă¶ffentlich, was es schwer macht, sachlich genauer einzuordnen, welche KrĂ¤fte und Dynamiken die Causa Suhrkamp tatsĂ¤chlich bewegen. Denn es ist unwahrscheinlich, dass sich alles nur um jenes Degen-Drama aus schĂ¶ner Erbin und forschem ParvenĂĽ dreht, wie es uns die Berichterstattung vorzumachen versucht. Aber einiges an Eckzahlen gibt es, und erlaubt eine kĂĽhlere Bilanz. Der Versuch nachzurechnen ist nachzulesen bei Perlentaucher und im buchreport.
Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, will be the single speaker at the Frankfurt CEO Debate 2013
July 31, 2013 by admin
The Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry 2013: Re-Inventing Publishing at a Global Scale
Markus Dohle, newly appointed CEO of Penguin Random House, will be the single guest speaker at this yearâ€™s Frankfurt CEO debate. He will be interviewed by the editors of leading professional magazines of the international book trade: Livres Hebdo (France),Â buchreport (Germany), PublishNews (Brazil), Publishers Weekly (US) and The Bookseller (UK), in the context of the Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry 2013, and in cooperation with the Frankfurt Academy. The event will be moderated by RĂĽdiger Wischenbart. It will take place on Wednesday, 9 October, 2013, from 2.30 to 3.30 pm at room Dimension Hall 4.2 at the Frankfurt Book Fair. (Registration to the event here).
Publishing as an industry rich in tradition is currently re-inventing itself radically. As new global players redraw the map of what used to be the â€śbook industry,â€ť and traditional publishing houses form new ventures, anticipating new mergers and a process of consolidation, new, emerging economies become attractive markets through their integration into global knowledge-driven societies.
With the merger of two of the largest trade publishing groups worldwide which became effective on July 1st, 2013, Penguin Random House will be a defining contributor to the future of the book publishing industry. Markus Dohle has helped shape this process, and now leads the new group.
The formation of the largest trade publisher opens new horizons for the industry, as it will be a significant factor with digital developments, globalization, the relevance of emerging markets, and a reorganization of the entire value chain. And it will be closely observed over how publishing could do business with players such as Amazon, Apple or Google on a global scale.
The CEO debate at the Frankfurt Book Fair will explore these topics with Markus Dohle.
“Global Ebook” report asks for your insights with online questionnaire. Special attention to small and emerging markets!
July 29, 2013 by admin
The â€žGlobal Ebookâ€ś report, which had been launched in fall 2011, had been updated since then twice a year, and was downloaded a stunning 5,000 times! (see http://www.wischenbart.com/page-4 )
For the next update, due to be out by September 30, 2013, I ask (again) for the help of stakeholders in te field!
As real statistics on ebooks are a rare species, I very much rely on direct input from book professionals like you â€“ publishers, retailers, distributors, experts -, sharing their insights and observations.
For the fall 2013 update, I notably want to better understand
a)The current dynamics in emerging markets. (We will update our chapters on Brazil, China, India and Russia); and
b) The role and impact â€“ between opportunities and challenges â€“ that ebooks & the expansion of global platforms have on smaller and medium sized markets, notably in Central and Eastern Europe.
For this, we prepared a detailed questionnaire, which in its first part, asks about general developments with regard to ebooks, and then in a second version, adds questions on the specifics of Central and Eastern Europe.
You can find both these these questionnaire online at
and the more specific questionnaire for Eastern Europe at
Please allow yourself 20 minutes of your precious time, and complete those questions that you feel comfortable with (and skip those questions, which you consider to be irrelevant or not applicable to your view and insights).
I also must urge you really hard to do this as soon as you can, allowing me the required time to get your valuable insights into our report â€“ which is due for release by September 30, 2013.
Please feel strongly encouraged to forward this email and link to colleagues who you consider as insightful in our context!
We will alert you when the report is out. And you can always find updates at www.wischenbart.com
Many thanks for your great help!
The Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry 2013 is out
July 23, 2013 by admin
The Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry, started in 2006, has been released in its fully updated edition of 2013.
The ranking lists the 60 largest publishing groups worldwide, with their revenues (mostly based on 2012 figures), and with a detailed analysis of recent developments in global publishing markets over the past year. For all listed companies, company profiles are available.
The 10 largest publishing groups worldwide account for over half of the revenues of the total 50 houses listed, yet with that share slightly decreasing from 57 % (in 2008, 2009 and 2010) to 55 % in 2012. At the same time, the share of the 30 companies listed between rank 21 and 50 rose from 21 % in 2008 and 2009 to 25 % in 2012.
This evolution mirrors well how new companies, notably from emerging markets, enter the global arena and claim a role of their own.
Also, the three main sectors of the publishing industry â€“ professional information & Science-Technical-Medical (STM) publishing â€“, educational and trade publishing evolve fairly differently.
The STM segment accounts for 41 % of the reported revenues, while educational publishing represents over a third, or 34 %, and trade (or general literature) is down to only 25 % of the total value that has been created by the leading actors in international publishing. Notably the gap between the share of educational and trade publishing is opening ever wider, highlighting that â€śeducationalâ€ť is currently the perhaps most competitive sector of the industry.
BookExpo America prepares “Books in Translation: Wanderlust for the Written Word” program for 2014
July 18, 2013 by admin
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 countriesâ€™ literature in the US.
Find the press release here.