E-books on the up in Germany

E-books are a major trend at the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair.

Alexander Heimann/Frankfurter Buchmesse - Frankfurt Book Fair

Germans like to read – and they read a lot. 67% of women and 53% of men purchased books in 2013, according to a study by the Allensbach Institute, a polling firm. This benefits high-street book shops, whose sales exceeded 4.6 billion euros in 2013 – almost 1% up on 2012. The market for e-books also grew, although not as quickly as in previous years: at present, only 4% of all books are sold exclusively in digital form. Nevertheless, most experts say the digital medium will determine the future of the industry, so the expectations are correspondingly high. German publishers expect to generate about 12% of their revenue with e-books in 2014, according to a survey conducted by the German Publishers & Booksellers Association. Genres like fiction, thrillers and erotic literature are especially popular among e-book buyers. Only when it comes to children's books do Germans buy almost exclusively printed editions.

First award for e-books

Developments at some publishers indicate that e-books are gradually becoming products in their own right and not just a second option to a printed book. For example, the major Munich-based publisher Hanser Verlag is presenting its first purely digital programme at the Book Fair – with short texts by well-known authors such as Thomas Glavinic, Henning Mankell, Sybille Berg, Javier Marías and T.C. Boyle. Some of the authors have contributed material themselves in the form of videos, pictures or interviews. And at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair, prizes will be awarded for the best German-language e-books for the first time. The categories Best Enhanced E-book and Best E-book App will focus on the technical implementation of literature in the digital field.

German E-book Award ceremony on 8 October 2014 at the Frankfurt Book Fair



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