Arena for books

Sector Digital publishing
Target Users Publishing and bookselling companies
Country Germany
Dimension International
Nature of the initiative Public
Contact Dorothee Werner
Corporate Innovation Officer


Digitalization and globalization of markets have been driving rapid transformation processes in the book industry for years now. Under the motto “Making digital content visible”, the Future Forum of German Association of Booksellers and Publishers launched a crowdsourcing competition, Arena for books.  The goal was to find innovative ideas for presenting digital content in a physical space.

Business needs

Digital innovation is rapidly changing the book industry. Products by publishing houses are being provided in digital form and the services related to the book trade are also becoming increasingly digital. The entire sector is faced with the problem of having to present digital publishing products and services in a physical space.This is a crucial issue for our industry because products by publishing houses are more and more being provided in digital form and the services related to the book trade are also becoming increasingly digital. But when it comes to sales and consultation, personal contact is still of fundamental importance, but this can only be successful if the digital products and services are accordingly simple and can be attractively presented.


The winner of the Community Award was “Augmenting Interactive World”. This project aims at providing digital freedom no matter what physical device is used. It offers interoperability (sharing & buying), user-friendliness (easy to use, intuitive usability), universal design (multilingualism, readability, accessability, flexibiity), safety (buying, sharing), update (new books,new rank for best sellers, popularity and so on). The idea could be applied to different formats (in a bookstore, at a trade fair, at a conference).

The winner of the Jury Award was “Bookshelf 2.0”. Go to your bookstore and find your new book in the same way like the physical books. The new concept shows a display as a bookshelf and allows to choose your book and browse through all pages. It is possible to pay directly online, by holding your ebook or smartphone on the code or printing a coupon and pay directly in the store.

The role of technology

As for Augmenting interactive world,  it forms an interactive surface (giant-sized touchscreen) up to an app and augmented reality. It allows to read books and share the digital content between physical devices in four different ways:  use the digital eye glass to interact the digital content by hand gesture, scan the book by augmented reality using mobile device or digital eye glass, interactive touchscreen with detection by AR & connecting to mobile devices via WLAN by app: gesture-based interactive surface (projector with AR & kinect).

As for Bookshelf 2.0, it has an interactive interface with database and e-commerce-functions. Core principal of the idea: taking the old shopping principle of physical books and combine it with a new technology. This programe makes it possible to browse through the whole book and getting your book directly in the store. It can be applied to different formats. You can press the button "Print" and get a code, where you can download the file after paying at the bookstore pay desk. Or you can Press "Pay with App/Online" where you get directly a code on the bookshelf 2.0 display and download the file by paying directly online. Both options works only with the internet.


132 ideas by creatives from over 30 countries were handed in and where shown in an exhibition called “Digital Arena” at Frankfurt Book Fair 2014. There was a total prize pool of €9,500. Divided in community prizes for the best ideas as well as a client ́s choice award of €3,000. Secondly the Future Forum exhibited the best ideas from this project at the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair in an own space. Several of our members now use licences of these ideas which could have never afforded do find these solutions themselves.

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