The German Publishers and Booksellers Association, an IPA member, has launched an ambitious Dragons' Den-style initiative where promising European book industry innovators can win €10,000 and access to high-flying mentors and investors from the publishing and media industries.
Run by the Börsenvereinsgruppe (German Publishers and Booksellers Association Group) CONTENTshift is a three-month, EU-wide programme that stands to benefit new and established publishers alike by bringing together their respective entrepreneurialism and business experience.
Five Börsenverein member companies—Bonnier Deutschland, Holtzbrinck Digital, Thalia, Thieme Gruppe and StoryDocks—are investing €10,000 each in CONTENTshift, which buys a spot on the jury and direct contact with the start-ups that will compete for the final prize. Three book-industry representatives and two further external experts will make up the rest of the jury, while professional Börsenvereinsgruppe advisors will vet the start-ups.
CONTENTshift project manager Dorothee Werner told the IPA the idea emerged from the Börsenverein 'start-up club', which travels around Germany building links between publishers and start-ups.
'We quickly learned that both sides are eager to get know each other better: start-up founders with ideas for the content industry need to establish contacts with the publishing industry to find partners and market their products. Publishers, on the other hand, are keen to discover new business models and innovative approaches, and of course they want learn about agile working methods and new ways of thinking.'
Ms Werner added that the inaugural competition had already attracted more than 32 entries, and is set to be rolled out on an annual basis.
'In the increasingly fast-moving process of digital transformation, publishing houses cannot manage to be innovate exclusively from within — they have to talk with others,' she said. 'A willingness to cooperate, even with potential competitors, is essential to stay ahead of the game.'
Throughout the competition, the start-ups will be required to solve tasks inspired by real industry challenges under the guidance of industry experts, culminating in a weekend workshop in September.
The final pitches and awards for best start-up will take place at the Frankfurt Book Fair, in October 2016.
See www.contentshift.de for a detailed programme and application form.
Twitter: @ShiftingContent Hashtag: #cosh16
About the Börsenvereinsgruppe (German Publishers and Booksellers Association Group)
The Börsenvereinsgruppe represents the interests of Germany's book industry and provides its members with advisory and practical services. The group consists of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels e.V. (German Publishers and Booksellers Association) and its business subsidiaries, which include Frankfurter Buchmesse GmbH, MVB Marketing- und Verlagsservice des Buchhandels GmbH, Mediacampus Frankfurt | Die schulen des Deutschen Buchhandels GmbH as well as the Holding Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH. The Börsenvereinsgruppe supports the book industry and media sector via services that include representational activities, cultural projects, the organisation of tradeshows, training programmes and publishing and technology services.