Max Franke of the German print-on-demand company epubli says that many German publishers are too risk averse and controlling when it comes to ebooks, and as a result they miss out on opportunities. They take too long to bring new products to market, he says, and take the wrong approach to DRM and social media.

German has a very rich vocabulary for describing power relationships. Obrigkeitsgläubigkeit — belief in authorities — is a problem for the book business, especially when it’s hard for publishing industry leaders to accept that digitization has changed everything, that authors now have the opportunity to successfully distribute and market their books without a publishing house and to become brands of their own.


Prof. Gottfried Honnefelder, Chairman of the Börsenverein (the German book industry’s lobby group) said at the Buchtage Conference in June, scoffing at the challenge presented by self-publishing: “What’s new out there that we cannot do? Use the channels of communication and distribution in a new way? Without a publisher? Without a bookstore?” There’s just one thing he forgets: now, the author is in control. The author has the opportunity to distribute and communicate effectively. Publishers’ challenge is to adapt their royalty terms and to offer solutions that provide real marketing benefits for authors. Some players do in fact overestimate their market power and refuse to adapt to the new requirements.

Read the full article at Publishing Perspectives.

(Photo: Paul McMahon)


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