Bastei Lübbe is a media company in the form of a trade book publisher. Within the scope of its business activities, Bastei Lübbe publishes books, audio books, eBooks, games and other digital products in the genres of fiction and popular science, as well as periodicals including novel booklets and puzzle magazines. The business activities of Bastei Lübbe also include the licensing of rights. On 31 December 2016, the development, production and sale of gifts and decorations were sold to a holding company in which Bastei Lübbe holds a 20 % stake. The purpose of the business also includes the operation of digital platforms and, thanks to the acquisition of the majority shareholding in BuchPartner GmbH, trade with books in particular. The development and distribution of games in the subsidiary Daedalic GmbH also belongs to the segment.
Unlike a traditional publishing house, Bastei Lübbe represents the entire value chain. This means that content and rights are not just bought, but are developed in-house in cooperation with external authors. The advantage is that Bastei Lübbe therefore owns all language and territorial rights to the content. On the sales side, Bastei Lübbe works with trade partners and various platforms, just like all other traditional publishing houses. The shareholding in BuchPartner GmbH has resulted in significant expansion of the traditional sales channel. Rights not commercialised by ourselves are sold abroad, for example in the form of licences. In addition, Bastei Lübbe aims to sell content via its own platform.
Bastei Lübbe’s core market is Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The company has been expanding its international business activities over the last few years. This means that not only German titles are developed and sold, but also titles in English in particular. As a result, the oolipo platform launched in March 2017 is also in operation within the DACH region and in the UK. Bastei Lübbe’s main locations are Cologne, Munich, Hamburg and Darmstadt.
Bastei Lübbe breaks down its business activities into five segments: “books”, “novel booklets and puzzle magazines”, “digital”, “retail” and “non-book”.
The “books” segment includes all printed products of Bastei Lübbe AG which are marketed under various labels, including as hardbacks, paperbacks and/or pocket books. In the current financial year, the thriller “Die Stille vor dem Tod” by Cody Mcfadyen, “Teufelsgold” by Andreas Eschbach, and the 11th instalment of “Gregs Tagebuch – Alles Käse” by Jeff Kinney are all worthy of particular mention in the hardcover segment.
The “novel booklets and puzzle magazines” segment includes printed novel booklets and puzzle magazines. The company’s unbroken tradition over the last 60 years in the novel booklet sector has been successful yet again in the 2016/2017 fiscal year. Thus with a current total of 38 regularly released series and 25 anthologies, the range of products has once again been enlarged compared to the 2015/2016 fiscal year.
The comprehensive range of various series such as “Der Bergdoktor”, “Doktor Stefan Frank”, “Hedwig Courths-Mahler”, “Jerry Cotton”, “Geisterjäger John Sinclair” and the westerns of star author G.F. Unger, with a yearly circulation in the millions, was continuously expanded and added to with new series as well as a spread of special editions. It is precisely the use of special editions that made it possible to attract new reader groups and generate sales during the previous fiscal year. The 2016/2017 fiscal year was also characterised by relatively constant sales and targeted widening of the range on offer with new series.
The puzzle magazines are published under the “PMV” label. PMV published 35 puzzle magazines in the 2016/2017 fiscal year, with a total of 225 editions. As was the case with novel booklets, the sales and distribution of these puzzle magazines were conducted through the national Grosso, station bookshops as well as seasonally in the European holiday destination areas. New objects were launched in the previous fiscal year, although some were also discontinued. The content is being continuously optimised and adapted to the current market situation. The quantity and quality of the portfolio and the editions sold have continuously secured PMV its place in the top five entertainment puzzle magazines in the German-speaking area.
The “non-books” segment comprises gift items and decorations sold under the Räder label. This participation was sold, with effect from 1 January 2017, to the newly-established company Räder GmbH, in which Bastei Lübbe still holds a 20 % stake. Given that the minority participation in Räder GmbH is not consolidated, the “non-books” segment will no longer be reported with effect from the 2017/2018 fiscal year.
The “digital” segment includes the digital turnover of Bastei Lübbe AG (eBooks and audio) as well as that of the fully-consolidated companies Daedalic Entertainment GmbH, oolipo AG, BookRix GmbH & Co. KG and BEAM Shop GmbH. Bastei Lübbe has invested in the digital market at an early stage. This applies not just to eBooks, but also to the field of audio. A majority shareholding in Daedalic Entertainment GmbH and in BookRix GmbH & Co. KG was acquired during the 2014/2015 fiscal year. Daedalic Entertainment GmbH, with offices in Hamburg and Dusseldorf, is considered to be one of the best game developers and publishers in Europe for narrative adventure games. Daedalic Entertainment GmbH develops and markets high-quality cross-platform computer and video games for the strategy and adventure genre worldwide. The focus is thus on producing outstanding entertainment software with a strong narrative character. The company has around 100 employees and, through the Daedalic Writer’s Room, has at its disposal a team of writers that is unique in the global games industry. In recent times, Daedalic Entertainment GmbH has won the German Developer Prize (Deutscher Entwicklerpreis) a total of 30 times, 9 times in the previous fiscal year alone. Daedalic Entertainment GmbH develops products such as games which are based on bestsellers from Bastei Lübbe. A prominent example is the recreation of Ken Follett’s “Die Säulen der Erde” as a computer game, which is due to be released in autumn 2017. The “Shadow Tactics” game was a global success during the 2016/2017 fiscal year.
oolipo AG operates a platform for digital serial multimedia content. It was launched in March 2017. It involves series content processed in a multimedia format. The product does not have any competition at present as it is the only platform able to offer such multimedia content. The content is edited in a manner tailored for smartphones. The platform for iOS was launched by Apple in March 2017. An Android version of it is due to be launched in the third quarter of 2017. In addition, further technical improvements and additional development of the software is due to take place this year. The development of software enabling third parties to create their own multimedia series content will be an outstanding achievement.
BookRix GmbH & Co. KG is a platform for self-publishers. More than 14,000 German authors uploaded their content to BookRix in 2016, which is then distributed via BookRix in the DACH region using well-known sales platforms.
BEAM Shop GmbH is an online shop for eBooks with content by Bastei Lübbe and other publishers. It is a 100 % subsidiary of Bastei Lübbe AG. The online shop specialises in series content and is the only shop that has a subscription function. The shop was fully launched in February 2017.
The “retail” segment includes the majority shareholding in BuchPartner GmbH. BuchPartner GmbH is a Darmstadt-based company occupying a leading position in supplying the grocery retail trade with books. More than 4,000 individual food retailers were supplied by BuchPartner as at the balance sheet date, with the current figure now totalling approximat ely 5,200 individual food retailers. In addition, more than 2,500 customers are served in the promotion-based business. BuchPartner is the market leader in Germany in the field of supplying the grocery retail trade, etc. The grocery retail trade segment is one of the few growth areas for the shop-based sale of books. BuchPartner GmbH has approximately 700 service staff nationwide and also has the logistics in place to supply over 5,200 branches in Germany with merchandise. In addition to the existing business with BuchPartner GmbH, this logistics system, etc., gives Bastei Lübbe AG the opportunity to access new business segments in the stationary bookshop sector.