As a leading congress centre for digitisation, Berlin also offers suitable spaces for debate and exchange. For example, the Berlin publish ing sector organises the E:PUBLISH CONGRESS for inno¬vative forms of publishing, a key event for the book market. The city is also home to the Publishers’ Forum, AKEP DAY as part of the BUCHTAGE BERLIN (Berlin Book Days), and the APE CONFE-RENCE on academic publishing in Europe. In addition, numerous online literature and cultural platforms and portals are based in Berlin, including PERLENTAUCHER.DE, LITERATURPORT.DE and LYRIKLINE.ORG.
Despite the shift to digitisation and in contrast to the downward trend recorded across Germany in the stationary selections of goods, the Berlin book market is also characterised by the emergence of new business in the classic analogue book trade. From 2010 to 2013, 25 bookseller’s shops opened in Berlin, including such stores as OCELOT in Mitte or USLAR & RAI in Prenzlauer Berg, both of which have attracted considerable attention in the book trade. These are supplemented by over fifty antiquarian booksell¬ers which similarly deal with a broad range of specialised topics. The appeal of Berlin’s book trade landscape is rooted in the co-existence of a diverse and varied product mix which, in terms of the breadth of topics covered, is unique throughout Germany. There is hardly any field of interest worth mentioning not served by a specialist bookshop in Berlin.
As a local amenity, bookshops forge cultural networks in their own neighbourhoods, playing a role in cultural life there either by hold ing their own events or cooperating with other local institutions, such as libraries. The density of bookshops in Berlin offers publishing houses the chance to network with the book trade and use the stationary retail book trade as a showcase for their products. However, this picture looks very different in other German cities where their centres are not only witnessing the gradual demise of small independent bookshops, but the closure of branches of large bookstore chains as well.
Berlin is Germany’s capital city of writers. Even today, the wave of young authors moving to Berlin after the Fall of the Wall shows no signs of abating. The available reliable sources suggest that over ten percent of all authors living in Germany have chosen Berlin as their main place of residence. With its many universities, libraries, literary festivals and institutions, and the diversity of its wri¬ting scene, Berlin is an intellectual centre significantly influencing aesthetic discourse and contemporary topics far beyond the borders of Germany. It is especially striking how often Berlin writers have been awarded such prestigious prizes as the INGEBORG BACHMANN PRIZE, the GEORG BÜCHNER PRIZE, the BREMEN LITE¬RATURE PRIZE or the OPEN
MIKE PRIZE, further underlining the widespread agreement on the quality of the city’s literary scene.
Berlin is also a centre for literary agents in Germany. Today, after the GRAF & GRAF agency was founded in 1995, a large number of literary agents have offices in the city. The Senate Chancellery—Cultural Affairs offers PROJECT FUNDING and STIPENDS FOR ARTISTS WORKING AND LIVING IN THE CITY as well as INSTITUTIONAL FUNDING for the LITERARY COLLOQUIUM to give structural support to the literary scene. Since the Fall of the Wall, the cultu¬ral affairs department has actively fostered the expansion of the inf¬rastructure promot ing Berlin’s literary institutions.
Through their readings, exhibitions, panel discussions, colloquia and festivals, funding for residency scholarships and the creation of networks, these institutions give new impulses to the city’s literary life and offer writers and authors places to meet and present their works.
At the same time, the public funding of LESART – THE BERLIN CEN¬TRE FOR CHILDREN’S AND YOUTH LITERATURE—or Berlin’s annual FAIRY TALE FESTIVAL supports the dissemination of literature
The Literaturhaus Berlin in Charlottenburg, as the model for all German-language houses of literature, presents a wealth of events appealing to a broad audience and, in this way, has an impact far beyond the city itself. The Literarische Colloquium Berlin (LCB) is housed in an impressive mansion on the shores of the Wannsee lake. Recently thoroughly refurbished, the mansion provides a forum for events, a guesthouse, a workshop, and a crucible forg ing the skills of talented authors and translators with an international reputation. The literaturWERKstatt berlin, housed in the Kulturbrauerei arts centre in Prenzlauer Berg, not only offers a wealth of evening events, but also organises the annual contemporary poetry festival POESIEFESTIVAL BERLIN, the ZEBRA POETRY FILM AWARD and the OPEN MIKE, the leading literary competition for young German-speaking writers of prose and poetry. The other key venues for literature lovers include the Literaturforum im Brecht-Haus, LesArt — the Berlin Centre for Children’s and Youth Literature, the Akademie der Künste, the Buchhändlerkeller, the Lettrétage House of Literature, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt arts centre, the DAAD, foreign cultural institutes and embassies, libraries and innumerable temporary literary salons and reading stages in pubs, cafés and book shops.
In addition to a wide range of local Book Day events and the LONG NIGHT OF LIBRARIES, Berlin’s literary landscape includes the POE-SIEFESTIVAL BERLIN annual contemporary poetry festival in June and the INTERNATIONALES LITERATURFESTIVAL BERLIN in September, both with ambitious programmes attracting many authors from around the world. In 2013, with the support of the cultural affairs department, the internationales literaturfestival berlin dedicated one day specifically to the city’s comic and graphic novel scene, which is now to be included in funding measures. The round of Berlin’s annual literary festivals concludes in November with STADT LAND BUCH, a one-week
reading marathon with over 130 events in the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region. Over the last years, a series of newer festivals have also become established, such as the DILDILE LITERATURFESTIVAL which showcases contemporary Turkish literature, the KOOKBOOKS event programme, which includes KOOK TEXTTONLABEL, and the ZEITKUNSTFESTIVAL for contemporary music and literature. With such a varied landscape, Berlin offers authors and publishing houses a unique stage for presenting their works.