German Buch News: Fewer Bookstores in 2009; Bing Meets with Europeans, Too; New Moon Mania

In German Buch News by Siobhan O'Leary

By Siobhan O’Leary

Just as the total number of bookstores in Germany was approaching the 1,000 mark, there has been a decrease of 3% in the number of stores in the past year, to 945 stores, according to Buchreport’s 9th annual “Filialatlas” study. The drop is partly the result of several chains closing outlets, including Weltbild and Wohlthat, and the shuttering of several “shops-within-a-shop” by department store chain Karstadt. Overall bookselling space increased by 1.2% over the past year (compared with 13% in 2008), with the majority of new selling space attributable to Thalia, Germany’s biggest book chain. Personnel costs have also dropped for book chains, with the DBH group, in particular, cutting back.

Following Rupert Murdoch’s announcement that he would consider giving Microsoft’s Bing search engine exclusive access to News Corp material (making it invisible to Google), the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports that several large European companies, including Axel Springer and the Financial Times newspaper, have recently held secret meetings with Microsoft—with the possibility that the company is looking into luring publishers into considering making their content more readily available on Bing than in Google. The FAZ notes that Techcrunch Europe has speculated that Bing could potentially pay publishers to give them the exclusive right to index their web pages.

Though the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s New Moon isn’t set to open in Germany until November 26th, ticket pre-orders have already smashed all box office records. Over 150,000 tickets have been sold since they went on sale four days ago and Munich’s Olympiahalle was overwhelmed with fans when the stars of the film made an appearance last Saturday.

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.