German Buch News: Indie Pubs Launch Award to Challenge German Book Prize

In German Buch News, News by Siobhan O'Leary

By Siobhan O’Leary

A group of independent publishers are protesting the dominance of conglomerate publishers among the books longlisted for the year’s German Book Prize by launching their own rival list, dubbed “Hotlist: Recommendations of the Independents.” According to Buchreport, Germany’s third largest chain bookseller, Mayersche, is supporting the effort by offering a 5,000 euro “prize,” with the winner to be selected by the guests of the annual Independent Publishers Party during the Frankfurt Book Fair. The Hotlist contains twenty titles from twenty different publishers and can be viewed online here.

At the moment e-readers are too slow, too expensive, and lack color. Boersenblatt predicts that the devices won’t truly be embraced by buyers until the price dips below 200 Euros. But with Sony announcing new readers for the US and Germany, and the Kindle likely on its way to Europe, the playing field is changing by the day and that day may be getting closer…

In Germany, there’s a debate being waged about whether or not flat rate subscriptions is a sustainable business model for the distribution cultural goods and services, like books and music, and whether it is a potential way to combat online piracy.  Boersenblatt looks recently took a look a Napster, which is one company that has made the subscriptions model work: The former file-sharing site is now one of the largest music providers in Germany, where customers can download or stream unlimited songs for 9.95 Euros per month. Those critical of subscriptions include Hans-Joachim Otto, chairman of the Bundestag’s Committee for Culture and Media. He argues that flat rate subscriptions only serve to diminish the value of the product in the eyes of the consumer.

About the Author

Siobhan O'Leary

Siobhan O’Leary is a literary agent, translator and writer based in Berlin. She previously worked in the Foreign Rights department of the Crown Publishing Group (Random House) and at the publishing consulting firm Market Partners International.