German teens turn to grown-up books

German youngsters are as keen on reading as ever, but are turning away from books aimed specifically at young adults, figures from the annual Leipzig book fair on Friday suggested.

German teens turn to grown-up books
Photo: DPA

With 42 percent of the country’s 12- to 19-year-olds reading a book daily or several times a week, there has been little change in the pastime’s popularity, a JIM young people’s media usage study from the Association for Children’s and Youth Literature (AKJ) revealed.

Yet their tastes are changing and they are more often choosing books aimed at adults, meaning fiction targeted specifically at children or young adults is falling out of favour.

In 2012, youth fiction made up 15.6 percent of total book sales in Germany – putting the genre in second place behind frontrunner general fiction, the German Publishers and Booksellers Association said.

A clear trend for books with no clear target age range had emerged over recent years, Renate Reichstein from the AKJ said.

Examples would be series like Twilight, or The Hunger Games which are more ambiguous in their target audience.

Real, physical books were, in general, facing ever-tougher competition from new media such as online newspapers, apps and e-books, said Jörg Maas, chairman of the pro-reading Lesen foundation. He did admit though, that modern technology was helping motivate young people to read more.

He denied critics’ claims that e-readers were replacing children’s books, as the JIM study showed just two percent of German children regularly used the devices.

Leipzig book fair is one of the largest of is kind in Germany. It opened its doors on Thursday 14th and in the first day and a half had more than 64,000 visitors.

DAPD/The Local/jcw

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Is Leipzig really Germany’s ‘ultimate travel destination’?

The Saxonian city of Leipzig has been named by traveller’s bible Lonely Planet as its “ultimate” travel tip for Germany. Does the Local Germany’s knowledgeable readership agree?

The city centre of Leipzig.
The city centre of Leipzig. Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild

Long a cult favourite among Germany fans, the left-wing city of Leipzig appears to now be gaining mainstream recognition after the Lonely Planet crowned it the country’s top travel destination this week.

In a new book titled “Ultimate German Travel Destinations – the top 250”, the travel publisher put Leipzig ahead of picturesque getaways such as Lake Constance and the Zugspitze as its number one destination.

“The hype that some say surrounds the city isn’t hype t all: Leipzig really is hipper than Berlin, and hotter than Munich, especially among millennials,” the guidebook boldly claims.

It goes on to lavish praise on the city of 600,000 inhabitants as “young, exciting, multifaceted – sometimes colourful, sometimes grey – and with a vibrant liveliness.”

“Everyone wants to go to the city where the anti-GDR demonstrations started,” the guidebook continues. “It is the home of Auerbachs Keller (made famous by Goethe and Faust); it’s the city of street art and wave gothic festivals; and its artistic scene at the Baumwollspinnerei is second to none.”

READ ALSO: A love letter to the eastern German city of Leipzig

‘Not cooler than Berlin’

Reaction to the list among the Local’s readership was mixed.

“It is a beautiful city and it’s easy to navigate. I find it hard to say that it’s cooler than Berlin, though. Berlin simply has more,” one reader told us on Facebook. “It’s the kind of place where people find their ‘spot.” I think most people in Leipzig know about most places in Leipzig. It’s a much smaller city. That may just be a more favourable lifestyle for some.”

Praise for Saxony’s biggest city ranged from admiration for the beauty of its architecture (particularly its train station) to the vibrancy of its arts scene.

Others suggested that Leipzig is indeed overhyped and that it can’t compete with natural wonders such as the pristine Königssee in the Bavarian Alps.

Lake Constance wins silver

Lake Constance, the country’s largest body of fresh water, came in second on the list.

The authors praised the southern See, which borders Switzerland and Austria, for “the many beautiful spots on its shores: Lindau, Meersburg, Überlingen, Constance and more – often surrounded by lush orchards.”

A regatta on the Bodensee in September 2021. Photo: dpa | Felix Kästle 

Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie concert hall came in third. 

“It’s impossible to imagine the Hanseatic city’s skyline without this glass work of art, which soars into the sky above the harbour like a frozen wave,” the book notes.

Also in the top ten were the Wattenmeer, which is a huge nature reserve on the North Sea coast, Berlin’s museum island, the sandstone hills of Saxony, and Germany’s highest peak, the Zugspitze in Bavaria.