Talking about Self-Publishing in Germany and China

In Digital, Frankfurt 2011 by Amanda DeMarco

By Amanda DeMarco

In some ways, you couldn’t imagine two more different markets for self- and online publishing than Germany and China. China’s population has long been accustomed to reading on screens and online publishing takes massive proportions. Germany’s strong traditional publishing structures have resulted in a slower transition to e-reading and e-publishing.

Cloudary (a Chinese publishing platform) invited me to participate in a discussion at the Digital Relations Hotspot with VP of Cloudary Lin Hua and bestselling Cloudary authors Mao Ni and Silkworm Potato, as well as Jörg Dörnemann, CEO of German self-publishing platform epubli and epubli author and journalist Markus Albers. The panel was moderated by publishing consultant Robert Baensch.

Baensch made it a point to convey to the audience the great number of readers that Mao Ni and Silkworm Potato reach — the titles of both of their books have been leading queries on Chinese search engine baidu.com and Mao Ni’s most recent novel has had 20 million page views.

epubli has distinguished itself in Germany through its author support and marketing, as well as by making connections with other publishing organizations, taking advantage both of the energy self-publishing has to offer and the robust traditional publishing culture available.

One takeaway from the panel, brought up by Albers, was that strong e-reading culture is the necessary precedent for a self-publishing boom. Silkworm Potato, for example, was a loyal Cloudary reader before he became a bestselling author there. Germany is probably several steps away from being able to support the kind of vibrant community Cloudary has developed, but the foundations are being laid.

About the Author

Amanda DeMarco

Amanda DeMarco is a freelance writer and translator living in Berlin. Originally from Chicago, her work for Publishing Perspectives focuses on German-language publishing news.