With their e-books and e-readers, Amazon and Apple have turned the book market upside down. So will conventional books survive? This is the question being asked by booksellers, publishers – and of course the readers.
Everything has changed since online booksellers such as Amazon shook up the market, forcing publishers to accept special conditions and encouraging authors to self-publish on the company's online platforms – at the expense of the publishers themselves and, above all, local bookstores.
Will the book survive?
Michael Then, Marketing Manager of Piper Verlag, speaks of the “overturning of a business model that had grown over centuries” between publishers, booksellers and readers. Has this classic business model for books become an anachronism, without future? Especially as texts – be they reference books, novels, essays, etc. – are becoming more and more popular as e-books and in principle making bookshelves as well as booksellers and publishers superfluous. The book in its classical form is a democratic instrument: once it has been published, it can no longer be manipulated and can be as little controlled as its readers by any download platform in the era of the NSA.
An insoluable controversy
In his film, documentary maker Siegfried Ressel – himself formerly a bookstore owner – pursues a controversy that is just as exciting as it is currently insoluable. He visits booksellers Carsten Wist in Potsdam and Denis Mollat in Bordeaux, both of whom are inspired by the sale of books and yet are pursuing quite different business models. Ressel also talks to committed publishers who still see their profession as relevant to society, to skeptics who think the entire book market system as a discontinued model, and to authors who have widely differing perceptions of their books.