What’s the Buzz: Germany’s Publishing Widows; Why Asian Crime Isn’t Popular; Larsson’s Partner offered $3 Million

In What's the Buzz by Edward Nawotka

By Siobhan O’Leary and Edward Nawotka


Though most of Germany’s largest media companies were founded by men, the tagespiegel points out how many of these companies have since been taken over by the younger wives of said founders. Instead of “publishers”, they are “publishers’ widows”, though they wield as much power as their husbands did. Friede Springer (Axel Springer Verlag) and Liz Mohn (Bertelsmann) are the two most obvious examples, but the article points out how remarkable it is that women could be running three or four of the largest and most important German publishing houses in the foreseeable future.

Hong Kong mystery writer, wit and all-around gadfly Nury Vittachi that ponders on his blog the question of why Asian crime writing—particularly for films—haven’t produced, in his opinion, many classics of the genre. The problem, he asserts, is institutional:

Here’s a trade secret. Why are Asian films not successful internationally? Most people think it’s because they are rubbish. In fact, this is true. They ARE rubbish in many cases. But there’s another reason: state film commissions in Asia have secret rules. No crime in crime stories. No ghosts in ghost stories. No corrupt officials in settings where corrupt officials can be found wall-to-wall.

Classic crime-writer model: Detective says to his junior, “Remember. Evil often emerges where some people might least expect it: from slick, rich, smiling, successful individuals who make up the elite.”

State Film Commission model: Detective says to his junior, “Remember. The elite are sinless and trouble comes from foreigners and other minority groups.”

The same problem certainly doesn’t exist for the Scandinavians. The world has been obsessed with Scandinavian crime writing for nearly 15 years now, dating all the way back to the publication of Peter Hoeg’s Smila’s Sense of Snow in 1994. On that note, one of our very first stories at Publishing Perspectives way back in May discussed the ongoing legal dispute that Eva Gabrielsson, the long time partner of Stieg Larsson, was fighting with Larsson’s family over his then $13 million estate. At the time, the family said Gabrielsson was entitled to nothing; earlier this week the family offered her the equivalent of $3 million, according to the Guardian.

It might also be interesting to note that, according to The Economist, which just got around to reviewing the Millennium Trilogy this week, Larsson’s books have sold a total of 12 million copies around the world, virtually ensuring his estate is worth well north of the $13 million figure at this point.

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.