By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Ruhrmann: A ‘Steadily Growing Audiobook Business’Another round of leadership adjustment at Germany’s Bookwire has placed the London-based Videl Bar-Kar at the helm of the company’s audio division, reporting to the company’s co-founding managing director John Ruhrmann.
Very familiar to Publishing Perspectives readers—and among the most articulate of conference and trade-show speakers on international audiobook development—Bar-Kar has been made vice-president for audio at Bookwire.
He has been with the company since 2018 and served as the company’s lead on international digital audio—an area of service that Bookwire now has enhanced not only with audio production capabilities but with its offer of automated narration. Prior to his work with Bookwire, Bar-Kar was an audio publisher with Penguin Random House UK.
Among Bar-Kar’s speaking engagements, some of our readers will recall his appearance as one of the specialists on our “Digital Format Adoption and the Pandemic” panel in the 2020 digital iteration of Frankfurter Buchmesse.
Bar-Kar also joined Publishing Perspectives onstage at the Jerusalem International Book Forum in May 2022, in a sharply targeted program about audio development with Moti Lippman of Storytel and Sophia MacAskill of London’s Curtis Brown.
His work has also factored into Bookwire’s series of All About Audio presentations, of course, for which Publishing Perspectives is an international media partner.
As the company describes his newly enhanced responsibilities, Bar-Kar has a team that featured three new positions:
- Florian Ritter joins the company as international audio marketing manager, he is responsible for leading the company’s overall audio marketing strategy and toolbox, working closely with Bookwire’s local market teams.
- Matthäus Cygan, formerly with Frankfurter Buchmesse, serves as the new role of head of International audio acquisition, a role in which he’s responsible for connecting new clients internationally. His previous experience in audio includes senior business development roles at Random House Verlagsgruppe.
Solveij Krause, who spoke recently in our announcement of Bookwire’s Google Play Books partnership, takes up the newly created role of international audio business development manager and global WAY lead, in which role she is expected to drive the development of Bookwire’s award winning WAY audio production service. It’s through the “WAY” branded service for audiobook publishers—”We Audiobook You”—that Bookwire originally opened its text-to-speech technology for automated narration of books.
Those three international heads working with Bar-Kar will be supported by local-market leads including:
- Christian Kessler, head of audio in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria
- Giulia Lo Monaco, the audio manager for Spain
- Anne-Laure Gonet, country manager for France
- Antonio Hermida, head of audio for Brazil
In a prepared statement on the news of his promotion, Bar-Kar is quoted, saying, “Audio is a once-in-a-generation opportunity as the fastest-growing area in publishing, and I’m thrilled to lead Bookwire’s intensified efforts to offer clients the most powerful solutions available in the market.
“We want to help accelerate the audio business of every publisher. I’m also delighted to be working with expert and passionate colleagues from across our different markets.”
And Ruhrmann says, “In close cooperation with our publishing, label, and shop partners, we have successfully further developed the steadily growing audiobook business in recent years. In view of the uninterrupted global audio trend, Bookwire has reorganized itself in order to be able to optimally meet the growing challenges of the digital audio business.
“Through our local audio experts, who are strongly anchored in their regions, and through our globally successful platform trading partners, we’re able to always offer our clients in trade and industry the best service and the best technology solutions. Bookwire OS and our team are able to do that.”
Bookwire today has some 135 people in its employment, and was established in 2010. Its team members are based not only in Germany but also in the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. Managed by founders Jens Klingelhöfer and Ruhrmann, Bookwire has venues in Barcelona, London, Mexico City, São Paulo, New York, and Paris.
More from Publishing Perspectives on audiobooks in international publishing is here, more on subscription and subscription models in book publishing is here, more on Bookwire is here, and more on its base market in Germany is here. Publishing Perspectives is a media partner with Bookwire’s ‘All About Audio’ conferences.