The Leipzig book fair has come to an end, counting a new record of visitors. In Germany, books seem to be more popular than ever. And yet, there is one concern that remains.
According to organizers the Leipzig book fair welcomed 186,000 visitors, that's 10,000 more than last year. As well as literati, important dialogues and discussions, prize-winners were also in the spotlight. During the opening of the trade fair on Wednesday evening, Romanian author Mircea Cartarescu was awarded the Leipzig Book Fair Award for European Understanding. He won the award for his Blinding trilogy. The final volume was published in German in 2014.
Bookstores threatened with extinction?
The German Publishers and Booksellers’ Association took the opportunity to discuss once again the TTIP free trade agreement at the trade fair. The association says retail prices for books are in danger, but the EU Commission says the set price ruling is not up for negotiation. Alexander Skipis, CEO of the association, however expressed fears that the set prices could fall victim to economic interests. Without set retail pricing, many bestsellers would perhaps become cheaper but books in general more expensive. Also, selling cut-price books at petrol stations would endanger many bookstores.
Monika Grütters, Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, also called on the public to seek advice from qualified staff when buying books. Consumer trends will ultimately decide whether or not local bookshops manage to survive. The commissioner would also like fixed retail pricing for books to be maintained and said books must continue to be treated differently from garden furniture or vacuum cleaner bags.
ab,pw/ej (dpa, Leipziger Buchmesse)