Book traders

Some book traders have a mission. They assemble little corners on their book shelves or in tiny cupboards reserved for their passion or mission. In some book shops you’ll find a corner devoted to a specific language or translations, in some a world region is represented as a specific predilection. The choises are as numerous as there are books. Of course, from an economic point of view national and international bestsellers will be shown in the most prominent places. Second come books for children, cooking, life and travel guides. All those are the cash cows for book shops and traders.
But beyond those, it is always worth the effort to search for those little carefully curated corners in a good bookstore that derive from the vision or mission of the book trader, employed or owning the shop. In some areas this contributes even to a small community building. Readings of authors add to the function of book sellers to build a relationship to their non-random book buyers. I keep going back to my favourite book stores and libraries with those curated corners for decades and across countries to find inspiration and updating of special topics.
There is a danger that we are going to lose all this professional work of thousands of well-trained book traders that guide readers in addition to publishing houses, literary critics, numerous awards and huge marketing campaigns of derived products (as with Harry Potter). Living up to your mission while running a book store must be a great experience. If is really increases the buyers and readership for the topic, would be a great result. However, I suppose many bookshops manage to keep their little curated areas despite economic pressure to go with the mainstream marketing campaigns and top selling books and gadgets.
With the decline in the number of smaller book shops (in Germany from ca 5000 to 3000 in about 20 years) we see a parallel increase in number of franchises of the big book sellers ( 500 stores in D). Big chain increase seems to cause fewer professionally trained book traders (-10% in D) within a country. For younger generations TikTok (BookTok) has taken over large parts of the “book counselling” of book traders previously. This was a big event at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2023 as well.
Time to rush to your local bookstore and book trader before it is taken over by a big chain or simply disappearing silently. We are likely to lose many of those book traders with a mission to make this world a better, more beautiful, more tasty, enjoyable or inclusive place.

Industrial Policy

Industrial Pioneers Summit: At the Hannover Messe on 2nd April 2019 Professor Detlef Zühlke, Executive Chairman, smartfactory-KL e.V. – Industrie 4.0 & Smart Factory talked about his baby: Industry 4.0, a word like a “cloud in the sky”. According to him the 4th industrial revolution with the smart factory, just like the smart home developments, is the current stage of development of industry. After the previous phase of the 3rd industrial revolution “automization”, which we also know from the home with our washing and coffee machines, we govern our factories and homes more and more from smart connected devices.

With artificial intelligence around the corner, the usual cooperation of users and machines or robots as standard, we need to make careful choices for the “User Interface Design” to develop it into a “User Experience Design”. Well put. The user wants green industries and products. Hence get your CO² footprint right as well. 

Lots of sociology at the fair. Instead of individualization from the 80s and 90s the pioneers of industry now talk about “the segment of one” in production. It just means a specific product for each customer to make the person believe s/he is really individually served.

The nexus of global and local (glocal) politics and consumerism is adapted to production. Glocalization (definition here) in industrial strategy has a different meaning: bring your production very near the consumer or directly to customers, this also beats the mass production advantage of low wage cost countries. With big data from local customers you can tailor-make the product at the edge of your market (sneakers for example). Hannover Messe always worth a visit for sociologist, too. Greening of production not yet really a mainstream trend, but several “Leuchttürme” at places.