(c) Frankfurter Buchmesse / Peter Hirth

(c) Frankfurter Buchmesse / Peter Hirth

In this series I aim to bring to you a shortcut to the international publishing industry stories I found noteworthy, in English and German. Suggestions are always welcome, just send an email to info [at] ehlingedia.com.

In dieser Serie möchte ich Ihnen Hinweise geben auf die Geschichten aus der internationalen Buchbranche, die ich bemerkenswert fand, in englischer und deutscher Sprache. Vorschläge sind stets willkommen, bitte senden Sie eine Email an info [at] ehlingedia.com.

And here we go.

With the Frankfurt Book Fair over, and hopefully all hangovers cured, it’s time for counting the blessings of this year’s pubfest. I found it alright-ish, but then I am old romantic for this thing (it was my 32nd Frankfurt), and it has once again served my business. So, no complaints here. Well, not big ones.

Jörg Dörnemann, head of the self-publishing plattform epubli, comes to a much more brutal conclusion: You don’t have to go to Frankfurt anymore. To him, the halls felt empty, those who are spearheading the new ways of writing, reading and interacting with consumers stayed at home. Funny though – his company’s official blog thinks that the book fair was a tremendous affair… [both in German].
I am not sure that Mr Dörnemann’s assessment of the book fair is entirely fair, but what would life be without the odd fisticuff? In case the book fair answers, I’ll keep you posted. For a more neutral rundown, Publisher’s Weekly provides a look at what happened.

Andrew Wylie who, if there is such a thing as a publishing aristocracy, would certainly qualify to be among its kings, has another axe to grind. This time it is Amazon’s Jeff Bezos who managed to get the world’s most influential agent’s gander up. In Wiley’s (not so very) humble opinion, Amazon’s publishing business is not “marked by sincerity” – given that Mr Bezos’ wife chooses to publish with Knopf, he may have a point. He goes on to accuse Amazon of megalomania, comparing their tactics to Napoleon’s ill fated foray into Europe. We’ll see whether the other heavy hitter will pick up his cudgels as well.

What would it take to get you to sell a book to Amazon?
If one of my children were kidnapped and they were threatening to throw a child off a bridge and I believed them, I might. (Andrew Wiley)

loads of wisdom (c) Flirtey

loads of wisdom (c) Flirtey

Flirtey in Australia is adding a welcome use to drone technology: Don’t drop bombs, deliver books! They have teamed up with student services provider Zookal and are now reportedly zooming around Harbour Bridge with  bombs of wisdom. It’s supposed to revolutionise e-commerce delivery. We’ll wait and see. Given that this is an Aussie thing and that a whole lot of students are involved. it might just be a hoax. If it is, I enjoyed it. If it isn’t … anyway – I advise those of you headed for Downunder to bring a hard hat, just in case.

Rüdiger Wischenbart is an excellent choice if you need data on the international publishing industries. His Global E-Book Report is out now and you can download it for free until the end of the month (afterwards it costs 29.95 Euro). He looks at how E-Book markets emerge in the US, UK, continental Europe, Brazil, China, India, Russia and in the Arab world. The report combines the best available data and references to specialized local actors, with thematic chapters, focusing on critical policy debates and on key driving forces, notably ebook bestsellers and pricing strategies across European markets, self-publishing, government regulation, piracy, and the expanding impact of global players. I strongly advise you to get a copy.

WHSmith got their knickers in a twist over pornographic titles in search results right next to those for kiddies’ books. Well, that’s what we call the intelligence of algorithms, I suppose. WHS took down their webshop and their supplier, Kobo, purged all Self Publisher’s titles from its catalogue, pending investigation. And of course, most of these do not not have any erotic contents at all. Oh, those bloody Self Publishers, nothing but trouble! Yeah, right. I think that David Gaughran is spot on when he calls this behaviour “braindead”. Because it is!

(c) ehlingmedia 2010

(c) ehlingmedia 2010

Finally, and if you’re not entirely sick and tired of my musings, you may take a peek at what’s recently come out of my personal sweatshop [all four pieces in German].

Keep the comments coming,