A New Chapter for New Books in German

Issue 46 cover
As you may know, changes are afoot at New Books in German as we look ahead and consider how we continue to serve the needs of our readers by showcasing the best of German-language books.

Our website will take centre stage. Over the next few months, we will be developing our website so it becomes the main vehicle for presenting the best writing coming from Austria, Germany and Switzerland. These books will be selected, as ever, by our Editorial Committees in the UK and US; books are chosen by people who live and work in the target culture, who have an eye for what will suit readers. This selection process is one of the strengths of our work.

Twice a year, in advance of the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs, our site will be updated with details of books – submitted for our consideration by German language publishers – that the Committee feels have the best chance of international success. For now, we will be focusing our selection on fiction and non-fiction. This means that - for the moment at least - poetry and children’s and young adult books will not be featured on the website. Once we have found our feet digitally, we aim to expand the range of books covered and to explore different genres. The website will also carry the interviews and feature articles that you are used to seeing in the pages of the old magazine.

Publishing in this way means we will be able to reach a wide audience and provide speedy updates. We don’t intend to become a news service, but between the two main updates of books to the site we will keep information up to date, adding details on how books are performing – the rights sold, or reviews published. We will be able to more easily tailor the information we bring you so you can focus on the books that interest you most. Not producing and mailing a hard copy has environmental benefits too, of course.  

We feel these changes reflect developments and trends happening in the wider publishing and media world. Our new approach follows an intensive period of consultation. We ran an online survey which garnered over a hundred responses, as well as holding over forty conversations with readers and people working in the industry, and we pass our renewed thanks to all those who contributed to this process.

One unanimous point to emerge from the consultation was how cherished New Books in German is. All of these changes are designed with one goal in mind, namely that good German-language books are enjoyed by a wider, international audience though their careful translation into the English language.

We feel truly energised about the next phase of an initiative we have been committed to for almost a quarter century. We feel excited about continuing to bring the best German-language writing to a wider audience. We look forward to working with you in coming months and years as the project develops. Very shortly we will announce the next submission round for Spring 2020.

If any further information would be useful at this stage, or if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Sarah Harrington Hemens, the Project Director via email at nbg-london@goethe.de