Rüdiger Wischenbart structured his presentation using titles of «iconic children books» because those books tell us about the very basic and fundamental narratives organise our lives and allow us to make sense. Thus, the title of his intervention was: «Where the Wild Things Are. The big trends in book publishing, as seen in late fall 2021» and there were some wild things and a lot of valuable insights.
Following this idea the sotory of «Cinderella» would show how there are winners and losers, being the winners «those who connected, collaborated, experimented, and ventured along new paths».
Also there is a parallelism of «The Very Hungry Caterpillar” with some consolidation processes.
- The US model is that the big buys are less big guys: Penguin Random House acquires Simon and Schuster and also Harper Collins acquires Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The challenge from this scheme would be referred to creators and diversity.
- Wischenbart explained that the French model is more similar to «Game of Thrones» : Parent Lagardère fires a CEO of France‘s biggest publisher Hachette, collides with the Covid-19 iceberg in its division; «Travel Retail“, calls on a «White Knight“ for help, yet fails to recognize a new deadly threat: Vivendi. The challenge of this model could be formulated as just Books versus «everything-under-the-digital-skies“.
- The German model is, said Wischenbart, «Coming as a friend»: Not in publishing, but in retail, a leading book chain picks up all those regional jewels that cannot keep up – and re-invents the entire game. Here the challenge would be making «omni-channel“
sustainable, and avoiding many traps.
- Spotify is a different model, «A family table» consisting in «Everybody help yourself
with whatever you like. All the time. Anywhere.» And in this case the challenge is
making it work everywhere and for all.
Afterwards he presented the most relevant data from the «The digital consumer book barometer» for six markets under the tag of “A Series of (Un-)Fortunate Events”.
Rüdiger Wischenbart, born in 1956 in Graz, Austria, is the founder of “Content and Consulting” (since 2003), and a writer specialized in culture, cultural industries, the global book markets, innovation in the book industry, literature, media, and communication. Most recently, he co-founded ReBoot Books, a series of professional debates on the international book business (www.rebootbooks.org ), and the Digital Consumer Book Barometer, a market report series with a focus on ebooks, audiobooks, online sales and subscription. (www.global-ebook.com ) Since 2007, he annually updates the Global 50 Ranking of the Publishing Industry (www.wischenbart.com/ranking), co-authors the Diversity Report series n literary translation in Europe (since 2008, www.culturaltransfers.org ), and he coordinates SIDT, a collaborative project for innovation trainings under a Creative Europe grant. (www.sidt-books.eu )
A former Head of Communications at the Frankfurt Book Fair and Director of International Affairs at BookExpo America, Wischenbart authored several books on migration and modernization in Central and South East Europe, notably “Canettis Angst” (1994).