The German Publishing Prize: 66 Publishers Honored, Three With €60,000 Each

In News by Porter Anderson

With a total value of more than €1.6 million, the German Publishing Prize selects and honors socially engaged independent publishers.

Winners of the German Publishing Prize at the June 22 award ceremony. Image: Christian Werner, BKM

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Roth: ‘To Critically Examine Current Events’
In case you’re not familiar with it, the German Publishing Prize is just that: a a recognition of good work for publishers. As such, it stands out from so many of the world industry’s awards programs that are designed to single out and raise up good work by authors and/or translators–sometimes, as in the TA First Translation Prize in the United Kingdom.

The German Publishing Prize (Deutscher Verlagspreis) is operated by the federal minister of state for culture and media, Claudia Roth. She writes with enthusiasm about the value and importance of books and literature: “Books open up worlds–and thus open up spaces of opportunity for exchange, for criticism and for new perspectives.

“In this sense, small and independent publishers in particular contribute to journalistic diversity. With high quality standards and entrepreneurial courage, they enliven and enrich public discourse. They stand up for this with passion, commitment and willingness to take economic risks.”

Not unlike the issue-driven positioning of the Aspen Words Literary Prize and some of the strongest history-writing awards, this program takes special interest in work related to “the democratic discourse” and “socio-political exchange,” as you’ll read Roth saying in a moment. The seriousness of the intent is a guiding element of criteria for success.

In her recognition, Roth echoes much of what Frankfurter Buchmesse‘s program on independent publishers in 2021 explored as the importance of the independent presses, many of which in Germany, of course, are among the most agile, adventurous, innovative, and decorated in the German business.

This year, a total 338 publishers applied, and 66 were selected by an independent jury. The program’s structure, then, works with basically a very big long list and a set of three winners—that’s a trio of top laureates, each of those three presses coming out with a handsome purse of €60,000 (US$63,161).

In addition, 60 winners receive €24,000 (US$25,264). Lastly, a trio of publishers with an average annual turnover of €3 million is awarded with a non-endowed (no monetary award) seal of quality. In total, this is a program that awards—as our colleagues at the Borsenblatt confirm—more than €1.6 million (US$1.7 million).

Claudia Roth

Roth, the minister of culture, in today’s media messaging, is ready with the rationale for this level of support, saying “With the Deutscher Verlagspreis we put the many small and independent publishers into the limelight.

“From the idea to the finished work, they accompany their projects with passionate commitment and great care. Among other things, this results in those books that invite us to engage in socio-political exchange, that require us to critically examine current events, and thus valuable enrich the democratic discourse. It’s to the publishers behind these books that we owe the unique diversity of our literary landscape.

“They deserve our special recognition all the more, and that is exactly what the German Publishing Prize stands for.”

As information for the press outlines it, “In a multi-stage selection process, the jury viewed the applications and selected those publishers that were most convincing with their publishing program and the quality of their publishing work. Important criteria for the jury’s decision were also the implementation of innovative projects, an appealing design of the books, and a cultural commitment, for example in the area of ​​reading and culture promotion.”

Jurors for the 2022 edition of the prize:

  • Literary translator Hinrich Schmidt-Henkel, chair
  • Journalist Roswitha Budeus-Budde
  • Stiftung Buchkunst managing director Katharina Hesse
  • Journalist Hannes Hintermeier
  • Literary scholar and director of the Hamburg Literature House Rainer Moritz
  • Independent manufacturer and book designer Hans-Heinrich Ruta
  • Ilke Sayan, a booktuber
Winners of the German Publishing Prize 2022

Representatives of the top three houses, winning 60,000 each, from left come from Jacoby & Stuart, Guggolz, and Edition Taube. Minister Claudia Roth is third from the right. Image: Christian Werner, BKM

The top three prize winners, receiving the largest purses:

  • Guggolz, Berlin
  • Jacoby & Stuart, Berlin
  • Edition Taube, Munich

The largest body of 60 winners:

  • Anton G. Leitner Verlag
  • Argument Verlag mit Ariadne
  • ars vivendi
  • av edition
  • AvivA
  • Buchkinder Verlag
  • Büchner-Verlag
  • CulturBooks Verlag
  • Deutscher Architektur Verlag
  • DOM publishers
  • edition assemblage
  • Edition Taube
  • Edition Tiamat (Verlag Klaus Bittermann)
  • Elfenbein Verlag
  • Faber & Faber
  • Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt GmbH
  • Guggolz Verlag
  • Hirnkost KG
  • homunculus verlag
  • Jacoby & Stuart
  • Jaja Verlag
  • Kehrer Verlag
  • Kerber Verlag
  • Kindermann Verlag
  • Komplett-Media
  • Konkursbuch Verlag
  • kunstanstifter – Verlag für Illustration
  • Lagato Verlag
  • Lubok Verlag
  • mairisch Verlag
  • mareverlag
  • MaroVerlag
  • Mitteldeutscher Verlag
  • Mixtvision
  • Orlanda Verlag
  • Passanten Verlag
  • Pendragon (Günther Butkus)
  • Peter Hammer Verlag
  • pmv Peter Meyer Verlag
  • Poetenladen
  • Pulp Master
  • Ronin Hörverlag
  • Rotopol
  • Satyr Verlag
  • Schaltzeit Verlag
  • Schirmer/Mosel
  • Secession Verlag
  • speak low
  • Spector Books
  • starfruit publications
  • supposé
  • Tulipan
  • Verbrecher Verlag
  • Verlag Graswurzelrevolution
  • Verlag Kettler
  • Verlagshaus Berlin
  • Voland & Quist
  • Wagenbach
  • Weidle Verlag
  • Wunderhorn

And the three winners of the unfunded seal of quality (with annual turnover of more than €3 million):

  • Emons Verlag
  • JUMBO Verlag
  • Matthes & Seitz Berlin

Official partners of the prize are the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s publishers and booksellers association, and the Kurt Wolff Foundation, familiar to Publishing Perspectives readers for its Helen & Kurt Wolff Translators’ Prize.

At the June 22 award ceremony for the German Publishing Prize. Image: Christian Werner, BKM

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 115th awards-related report produced in the 117 publication days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.

More from us on publishing and book awards in international markets is here, more on the German book market is here, and more on independent publishing is here.

More on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.