Germany’s ‘Buchreport’ Is Shut Down in Harenberg Bankruptcy

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The 53-year-old Buchreport, one of the market’s trio of trade publications, was best known for its Der Speigel bestseller lists.

An article from the December 22, 2023, edition of Buchreport. Image: Buchreport

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
See also today: Germany’s Book Market: A ‘Mixed Performance’ in 2023

‘Maybe You Will Miss One or Two Things?’
Reports in several news outlets are following the closure of Buchreport, which operated for 53 years as a key German trade publication focused on the publishing business. The news medium was a component of Verlag Harenberg, which on December 8 filed for bankruptcy. Harenberg Kommunikation had been part of Spiegel’s operations, from 2007 to 2021, but then was sold by Spiegel to the media group Busch Glatz, led by Timo Busch.

Editorial and publishing operations ended with the close of 2023. According to Antoine Oury’s report today (January 4) in Paris’ ActuaLitté, Buchreport has most recently been distributed in a run of some 4,000 copies in print as well as in its online publication.

However, in one report published on Wednesday (January 3) by Buchreport’s staff, we read, “A new perspective is currently being examined for Buchreport, [Harenberg GmbH’s] core product. The aim is to maintain Buchreport as an independent voice of the book industry in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.”

Whether that line is borne out by active business negotiations is unclear. “An overall solution for the publisher as part of a transferring structure,” the team writes, “has not yet been achieved.” Later in that article, we read, “Discussions with potential buyers” of the Harenberg assets “are ongoing and will now be continued.”

One of the news medium’s services was the development of bestseller lists for Der Spiegel. At the outset of that project in 1971, this was done for fiction and nonfiction hardcovers but the rankings later were expanded, as was the Buchreport “List of Topics,” created as a guide for product range in bookstores.

Following the closure at the end of the year of Buchreport, Der Spiegel has announced that it has made a partnership agreement with eBuch─an organization of some 850 booksellers─and starting this month, according to the Wednesday (January 3) media release, this arrangement will take up the creation of the bestseller lists in coordination with Media Control and Der Spiegel‘s own specialists.

The bestseller lists the Buchreport program created for Der Spiegel were Buchreport‘s best-known output.

‘News, Analysis, Statistics’

From Buchreport’s homepage, January 4. Image: Buchreport

In a notice on the news site, Lena Scherer and Thomas Wilking write to Buchreport’s readers, not without a note of understandable irony:

“The Buchreport publishing house Harenberg ceased operations at the beginning of 2024. Buchreport no longer provides you and the book industry with news, analyzes and statistics, bestseller lists and best practices, and no longer offers a look over the fence at other book markets and general developments that also influence this particular industry.

“Maybe you will miss one or two things?

“In any case, we would like to thank our colleagues who left over the past year for their interest and appreciation. We have always valued the varied work for the many committed book people and the different companies in the industry. The editorial team would particularly like to thank the many contacts for their trust and patience, even with persistent research and critical questions.”

Trade publishing coverage in Germany, as long as there is no buyer for Buchreport, is handled by eBuch’s BuchMarkt, and by Börsenblatt, a publication of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels—Germany’s publishers and booksellers association.

Image: Buchreport

More from Publishing Perspectives on the German book and publishing market is here, more on the work of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels is here, and more on our coverage of bestsellers is here and our exclusive monthly bestseller reports from the mainland Chinese market, produced with Beijing OpenBook, 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.

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