Books & Bytes Award to Honor Innovative Book Project

In Feature Articles by Siobhan O'Leary

By Siobhan O’Leary

Terzio Verlag Managing Director and book2look co-creator Ralph Möllers launched the first Books & Bytes Prize earlier this year to bring attention to the most innovative online book projects in Germany. “It is intended support not only the truly innovative developers of these projects but also—and probably even more importantly—the ‘fearless digerati’,” says Möllers. There are plenty of “digital natives” working away in the publishing industry, but, he adds, “they are very rarely the decision makers and very seldom heard at all.”

The inaugural winner will be announced later today at the Books & Bytes booth (Hall 3.0, Stand B100).

Thirteen projects are shortlisted for the prize, including a translation agency (www.tolingo.de), a virtual academic bookstore/library (www.paperc.de), a service for publishers who want to publish their books via iPhone and iPod (www.textunes.de), a new video platform that allows readers to upload videos recommending their favorite books and publishers to feature book trailers for a small fee (www.bookface.de), and even an online social travel guide that aggregates recommendations and experiences from a worldwide community of thousands of travelers (www.tripwolf.com).

Möllers says that each shortlisted project is an example of the changing publishing business. “Some are creating new means of distribution or marketing, or building new direct relationships with readers, or blurring the distinction between author and publisher, or creating new business models for e-books.” He adds that the prize is intended to address: a much larger issue in publishing, that of the gulf between the “digital natives”—those who were raised with the Internet and ebooks—and the veteran publishers who employ them. “The Books & Bytes Award is about this change.”

At present, the prize carries no cash award, although the online German magazine Newbook.de came aboard to sponsor the prize and will support the winner with promotion and publicity. Information about the winning project will also be on display at the Books & Bytes stand throughout the remainder of the Fair.

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.