Global Trade Talk: Big Book Awards, US Price Wars, Germany’s Scoyo for Sale

In Global Trade Talk by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka and Siobhan O’Leary

On Monday, Marie NDiaye won France’s Prix Goncourt for her novel Trois puissantes femmes (Three Strong Women). Meanwhile, this past Sunday, Nam Le was awarded Australia’s richest prize for fiction, the AUS $100,000 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction for his short story collection, The Boat. The non-fiction prize, which also carries a AUS $100,000 award, was split between Evelyn Juer’s biography, House of Exile: The Life and Times of Heinrich Mann and Nelly Kroeger-Mann, and Drawing the Global Colour Line, by Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds. In Germany, this year’s Nobel Prize winner for literature Herta Müller was given the international Franz Werfel Human Rights Award and {delete “and” change to “with”} more than 1000 people were {delete “with”} present in Frankfurt’s Paulskirche to watch her accept the award.  The prize is awarded every two years and carries with it a €10,000 endowment.

The New Yorker looks at the bookselling price war taking place in the United States that has reduced ten bestsellers at and Wal-Mart to ten dollars or less. The article states, “From a game-theory perspective, price wars are usually negative-sum games: everyone loses. A recent study found that, if competitors do match price cuts, industry profits can get cut almost in half. The best way to win a price war, then, is not to play in the first place,” but calls it “textbook loss-leader economics” and asserts that since the promotion is limited to just ten titles, the net effect of all the publicity generated from the “war” is likely to outweigh any loss of revenue—for these big retailers, that is. Publishers and booksellers have plenty more to say about that…

Bertelsmann announced that it is ending its investment in online educational platform Scoyo, which is based in Hamburg and employs about 60 people. According to the Boersenblatt, the media giant is estimated to have invested up to 20 million euros in the project since it was started in 2007. Scoyo, which was owned 100% by Bertelsmann, is now seeking a new investor.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.