E-pub pow-wow

With the first Electric Book Fair coming up on June 21 in Wedding's Supermarkt, Germany's fledgling e-publishing scene gets together to discuss e-possibilities from spam novels to dino porn and beyond. We explored this electronic errata for you.

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On June 21, the Electric Book Fair brings Germany’s fledgling e-publishing scene together to discuss the many possibilities of lit on screen, from spam novels to dino porn and beyond.

Germans like their books – the traditional way. When it comes to digital fun, like the rest of continental Europe, this nation of bibliophiles lags far behind the English-speaking world. But perhaps not for long. It seems those e-bookworms are slowly but surely burrowing their way into the German psyche.

The proof? Germany’s first Electric Book Fair, taking place at Wedding’s artsy Supermarkt complex on June 21. The anything-but-conventional fair, complete with performances and an “Electric Café” forum, is put on by Berlin’s e-publishing movers and shakers: Nikola Richter, the indefatigable energy behind Mikrotext, along with Christiane Frohmann from Frohmann Verlag and Fabian Thomas from Shelff.

Kindles, Ipads and e-books have obviously changed the way we read. But this fair also addresses the question of how new digital forms are influencing the very content of our reading, leading to new genres and more cutting-edge experiments. Whether e-publishing is a revolution or just a mutation, attendance is mandatory for anyone interested in the present and future of books.

E-books in 5 facts

  • Behind the US and China, Germany has the third largest share of the global book market, at 8 percent (print and e-books combined).
  • E-books account for just 2.4 percent of total book sales in Germany, compared to 11 percent in the UK and 13 percent in the US.
  • Germany’s fixed price book agreement is a key factor in the discrepancy: here, e-books are often only €1-2 cheaper than their paper counterparts.
  • Amazon commands the lion’s share of the German e-book market at about 50 percent. Nearly half of the titles on the site’s best-sellers list are self-published.
  • The first German e-book to have sold over 100,000 copies was Berlin Gothic, self-published on Amazon by Jonas Winner in January 2012. It was nearly as popular as the e-version of Fifty Shades of Grey. AMK

Originally published in issue #128, June 2014.