10 Nov 2013

German quicky indies: Booklits, Singles, microstuff

After a couple of excursions, it's about time I got back to my ebook single project. This week I'd like to take a look at a couple of new German indie publishers that specialise on singles. Some only do digital formats, one actually also publishes Pixi format physical copies, which are totally adorable by the way. By and by I'll hopefully get around to take a look at some of their titles in detail, but for now I'd simply like to introduce them, since they're all pretty much BRAND NEW. (At least to me.)


To start with the one publisher on this list that still does things with paper, Literatur-Quickie - as their name already suggests - have focussed on short stories since their first series back in 2009. Based in Hamburg and Berlin, they started out with organising the "shortest literary events ever" and discovered that there might be a market for tiny books in German. Since then they've published 10 series of 5 booklits each (that's what they themselves call their Pixis), some of them reprints of earlier texts (some Kafka, some Ringelnatz), most of them new stuff (Juli Zeh, amongst others), between 20 and 50 pages in length. From this autumn onwards, they also do graphic novels - or would that be graphic short stories?

What is interesting concerning the subscription idea I discussed in one of my former blogposts, the Literatur-Quickie peeps offer a subscription of their booklits and send them home to you twice a year. I haven't been able to track down anything comparable for their ebooks, which are distributed by dotbooks by the way.

I chanced upon these guys at the Frankfurt book fair, we got chatting, and I really liked their idea of Pixi books for adults, I think they'd make great tiny presents. I've got one on my pile now and very much look forward to my first grown-up Pixi book. Unfortunately their very hip website doesn't help with browsing through the rest of their titles: the cover thumbnails can't be looked at in detail and they don't list the titles and authors next to them either... is there some web admin listening by any chance?


The first of the three start-ups to be mentioned when I started this project back in October, mikrotext from Berlin (where else?), describe themselves as "a digital publisher for short digital reading" but their texts aren't quite as minute as their name suggests (but who knows, maybe they'll branch out into haikus one day?). They publish only eight books a year, but they are usually thematically linked to one another, cover non-fiction as well as fiction, and some of their texts are available in English, too.They don't sell their ebooks directly from their website, but from all big ebook platforms like Amazon, iTunes, Buecher.de, Hugendubel, kobo, Weltbild, etc. which are all linked. The latest title in their English series, I Love Myself OK? A Berlin Trilogy by Chloe Zeegen, is marketed as a book of the Facebook generation, written in the style of a chatroom. I can't say whether that's a good thing or no since I am yet to read it.

CulturBooks - Elektrische Bücher

CulturBooks have lately created quite a stir in the German publishing landscape as one of the new start-ups that focus on digital-only publishing, like mikrotext. They are essentially a bilingual publishing house that offers different formats from Singles (short stories) via Maxis (novellas) and Longplayers (novels) to Albums (short story collections, as they're known to the rest of the world). Their first programme just got published at the beginning of October, so they're the youngest of the three today. As most start-ups, they've got a motto, which they nicked from Pippi Longstockings: they simply do whatever they like. I'm not entirely sure that this is going to make for a recognisable brand identity, but then Pippi got rather far with that motto, right?

For me personally, "Elektrische Bücher" sets my hipster alarm off and I've proven quite unable to decipher their colour coding (is it a code at all? Or is it only a post-ironic random distribution of green, blue, red and yellow? Should I take my Penguin-tinted glasses off?), but there are a couple of items in their programme I find intriguing/will review/would like to review *nudge, nudge*: I've got "Furthest Point South" by Pippa Goldschmidt on my pile (now there's another thing I miss in the digital world: piles. Seriously, I can't organise my worklife without piles. I forget files. If I had a pile with stuff to review, I would have been able to remember that poor author's name right away and wouldn't have to check again. So it's definitely "Pile, not file!" for me.) And the Album Chicken Sex sounds interesting. Just because.

Anyway, that's it for today. I'll keep a look out for any more subscription news and will hopefully find the time to do a proper review again soon (that thing called Life is currently taking over a bit...).

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