By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
‘Literature and the ‘Metaverse’ Belong Together’
As you may remember, Germany’s Bookwire on March 29 introduced its new Creatokia platform to many in a program called “All About Blockchain.” Creatokia is the company’s new marketplace for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.
Today (May 16), the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s publishers and booksellers association, has announced that the German Nonfiction Prize has entered a pilot program with Creatokia to offer the previous year’s winner and four nominated titles as NFTs, beginning May 23.
“On May 30,” news messaging from the Börsenverein says, “this year’s award will be presented not only at the Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss (Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace) but also in virtual space.
“The digital certificate for the best nonfiction book of the year will be inscribed on a blockchain.
“Together with Creatokia … the German NonFiction Prize is allowing publishers to try out the technology around non-fungible tokens. To start, four of the nonfiction books nominated for this year’s award, as well as the winning title from 2021″—Hegel’s World (Rowohlt, August 17, 2020)—”already exist in special digital editions as NFTs now.”
In a prepared statement, Bookwire and Creatokia’s co-founding managing director John Ruhrmann is quoted, saying, “At Creatokia, we’re betting on the idea that literature and the ‘metaverse’ belong together. Or, put another way, in reality, literature is already a metaverse in its own right.
“This representative project is now opening a bridge for authors, readers, and publishers … connecting these worlds.
“I was an enthusiastic reader of last year’s winning novel, Hegels Welt by Jürgen Kaube.
“This is something special and definitely a way station in blockchain technology in the publishing industry, documented by the prize. It’s great that the German Nonfiction Prize has embarked on this collaboration.”
And at the Börsenverein, the marketing and cultural projects chief Anne-Mette Noack, says, “The German Nonfiction Prize aims to help us better understand the era in which we live.
“The impulses for this are provided not only by the nominated nonfiction books themselves but also by our desire as organizers to explore new forms and technologies.
“The field of NFTs was and is largely uncharted territory for us and for the participating publishers, and we’re curious to see how the use of blockchain technology in the book and literature industry develops. That’s what we’d like to set in motion and find out through this pilot project with Creatokia”
Here are works listed as being available as NFTs:
- Alice Bota: Die Frauen von Belarus: Von Revolution, Mut und dem Drang nach Freiheit [The Women of Belarus: On Revolution, Courage and the Yearning for Freedom] (Berlin Verlag)
- Stefan Creuzberger: Das deutsch-russische Jahrhundert. Geschichte einer besonderen Beziehung [The German-Russian Century. History of a Special Relationship] (Rowohlt Verlag)
- Samira El Ouassil & Friedemann Karig: Erzählende Affen. Mythen, Lügen, Utopien—wie Geschichten unser Leben bestimmen [Narrating Monkeys: Myths, Lies, Utopias—How Stories Determine Our Lives] (Ullstein Verlag)
- Stephan Malinowski: Die Hohenzollern und die Nazis: Geschichte einer Kollaboration [The Hohenzollern and the Nazis: History of a Collaboration] (Propyläen Verlag)
- Jürgen Kaube: Hegels Welt [Hegel’s World] (Rowohlt Berlin)named the program’s first non-fiction book of the year 2021
Interested readers can review the special editions in a digital showroom now and, from 23 May, can acquire the NFTs through a microsite using tokens or euros. From that date, for a period of one week, until shortly before the announcement of the nonfiction book of the year on May 30, 10 limited special Nonfiction Book Prize editions of each of these titles will be available for purchase.
These digital originals include the ebook of the title with adapted cover, digital signature and jury statement, as well as at least one other item of digital content chosen by the publisher.
From among all purchasers of these NFTs, the German Nonfiction Prize will draw a name to receive an invitation for two to the award ceremony in 2023.
In addition to the award ceremony in Berlin, the German Nonfiction Prize will be digitized as a digital certificate through its inscription on a blockchain, in a unique and non-replicable form, for the prize winner.
This is Publishing Perspectives’ 92nd awards report published in the 95 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.
Publishing Perspectives is a media partner with Bookwire’s ‘All About Blockchain conference.
More from Publishing Perspectives on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact is here.
About the Author
Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London’s The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.