Frankfurter Buchmesse 2018

Gaining back the reader

The English motto of the Book Fair in Frankfurt on Main this year is "Ideas that move the world". A major concern in the book area is, how we can win back the reader.

"We" stands for book shops, publishing houses and authors. We have to win back readers as we are in a strong contest with online media, such as serials, films and social media. People experience life as more and more restricted. They are pressed for time by an information overflow and the speeding up of tasks and - especially - being active in social media. Andrew Campbell published a few weeks ago an article on the use of smart phones and its impact on our "real" social life and our well-being. Amen Alrobai and colleagues explore what requirements engineering can contribute to minimize the risk of addiction, for instance in a paper from 2014.

The Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (BOEV - German Publishers and Booksellers Association) recently published a study on "Buchkäufer quo vadis?" Where will the customers go? I would appreciate if the authors of the study had more in their focus the reader. Buying a book is not the only way to read a book. I'm sure you know the initiatives, that afford the opportunity to store books in glass cabinets and on shelves in cafés, hotels and lounges. You can take and leave books there. As a sailor I am indebted to all the people who do this in harbours. I have no clue how I could survive without. And it is a pleasure to store books, knowing that there will be other readers to enjoy the books I passed forward.

The BOEV offers the study (in German) on their internet presence. There is also a link to M. Roesle-Graichen's article on the study. I appreciate H. Hoffmann's commentary, that emphasizes the relevance of well educated and enthusiastic book-sellers in the book stores. They are well acquainted with current and previous publications and should be able to advise a reader on requests like: I would like to read a novel. I need a textbook on social informatics. I'm looking for ... Experienced book-sellers need - and often have - expertise and empathy to find for and with the reader a fitting book - or several of course.

How I got to hear of this study? Again it stems from a recommendable newsletter. The Frankfurter Buchmesse newsletter in German and in English.

Christa Weßel - Friday, 29 June 2018

Further readings