When will the first eBook win the German Book Award?

Public reading of Kruso

Lutz Seiler Wins the German Book Award 2014

And the winner is… The German Book Award 2014 goes to Lutz Seiler for his novel “Kruso”, in which a young student from Eastern Germany flees from his girlfriend’s death in an accident and finds on the Baltic hippie island Hiddense work in the most popular restaurant on the island, where he gets in touch with the unofficial leader of the seasonal workers Kruso.
Kruso is the first novel by Lutz Seiler, a great living poet, who transformed himself into a novel writer and today in a highly respected literary figure.

How to bring High Quality Content to Consumer with Willingness-to-Pay?

After the award ceremony in Frankfurt’s historic “Römer”-townhall, I had numerous conversations downstairs with book authors, publishers, and journalists from all over the media industry at the after-show-party. They all share the same question: how can we make sure that high quality content is recognized and reaches a target audience with a certain willingness to pay? I discussed this intensively with a journalist from Deutschlandfunk, a national radio station well-known for their high quality content, which partly resides in the long-tail but fractions and combinations of it could also appeal to a broader audience? He shared stories about interviews with Nobel Prize winners and people, who – for whatever reasons – have to live in complete disguise but he persuaded them to talk to him. So, what is the best front-end for high quality content?

My Personal Megatrends for the Media Industry (Book Industry being part of it)

Needless to say, that the book industry is part of the media industry and hence the same business logic applies, despite not everyone at the after-show-party would agree to this. With millennial’ s growing influence and mobile devices being ubiquitous, we witness a transformation from a push- into a pull-approach, where consumers download, stream, and digest content when they want and not when program directors decide to broadcast it. I do not have the full answer either. But I foresee three mega trends when it comes to monetizing content, which a future user front-end should fulfill:

  1. Selling structure by putting in context.
  2. Selling orchestration across many sources.
  3. Selling stories which add value to things.
    (if you questions this, I recommend to have a look at the significant objects project. Rob Walker, a New York Times Magazine columnist, demonstrated that the prize of abandoned objects on eBay mysteriously skyrocketed when they were accompanied by a narrative)

Envisioning a Next-Gen User-Frontend for Content Consumption

I am sure that in your imagination, you already start seeing a combination of a kind of all-media-“Flipboard” and a “LibriVox”-“YouTube”-streaming- type-front-end, which allows people to consume seamlessly orchestrated content according to their personal preferences from their trusted sources and put in a structured context according to their logic. All this happens on the fly and can be consumed as a service and paid on a subscription- or flat-free basis. Legal prerequisite is that the row content is still owned by the author and only the productized assembly is sold. I would immediately sign-up for such a service. Just think of a sequence of historic interviews with contemporary witnesses followed by a chapter of Lutz Seiler’s novel “Kruso”, which suits my needs of an intellectual lunch break while waiting for my delayed business partner…

Am I misreading or is there a chance for a creative disruption – dear entrepreneurs. The future of the media industry can be bright; who builds it front-end?

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