Thursday, 7 January 2016

Happy New Stats

Happy 2016! I was in a less-than-creative mood anyway so I did some counting. I'm working on an article on gender imbalance in translated fiction for New Books in German. And I'd found it impossible to find any statistics on books published in German in the first place. So I combed a selection of publishers' catalogues from Spring 2016 and Fall 2015. For the purpose of comparison with other stats, I've included only fiction (novels, novellas, short story collections but no poetry, drama, essays or children's books) written in German and published for the first time. The publishers are thirty literary, genre, indie, major group-linked, small, large, medium houses – but of course this is by no means a comprehensive list. Anyway, here it is.

You'll notice the numbers are surprisingly low. Only 128 original German-language titles published in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in Spring 16, 144 in Fall 2015. Obviously that's because I haven't made any attempt to cover all publishers. But it's also because a lot of translations come out, especially fiction. In Germany in 2013, 11,894 published first editions fell under "German literature" and 6,164 literary translations were published, according to Buch und Buchhandel in Zahlen 2014.

Adding the two seasons together, books authored by women made up 43% of original fiction in my selection.

Going by a previous count of mine, about 30% of fiction translated from German to English was written by women. So something does seem to be getting lost along the way.


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