Friday, October 12, 2007

Germany to Test Book TV

I know that we have Book TV in this country on weekends (on C-Span2) and I do usually watch it for a couple of hours every weekend. But I sometimes grow a little weary of its emphasis on political books and I tend to get a little burned out to the point that I forget about the channel for weeks at a time. I've often wondered why, with the dozens and dozens of cable and satellite channels available these days, someone doesn't try to come up with one that focuses in on all things book related, something on the air every day.

I'm sure that would be a rather risky investment but there are so many little niche channels out there already that it doesn't seem impossible. According to DW-World, a group in Germany has decided to see if they can make just such a station work there.
The broadcaster, called lettra, aims to keep book lovers up-to-date with what's going on in the world of fact and fiction. It's set to go on air on Nov. 24. on the pay TV channel Premiere Star.

The idea of literature TV was the brainchild of Jan Henne De Dijn who announced the launch at the Frankfurt Book Fair on Thursday.
The company aims to appeal to book worms of all kinds, featuring programs about children's literature, novels, factual and self-help books, educational literature and reference works.

Five hours of programming a day are initially planned. The centerpiece will be a two-hour live show every weekday evening. There will also be a morning show for children, along with literary adaptations, magazine shows and documentaries.

"We won't be presenting books and reading in a high-brow manner, but competently and informatively," said lettra's co-managing director and editor-in-chief Carsten Meincke. "We want to be entertaining and humorous and reflect the creativity and the variety of the book world. After all, we want to make television for everyone who love books."
Lettra also wants to let everyone with a passion for books have their say, giving a voice to readers, as well as writers and publishers.

De Dijn is hoping to attract half a million viewers by the end of the
German television viewers will have to pay to be able to see this programming. I'm not sure from the article whether or not it will be available as part of a "package" or if it will have to be purchased separately. But this is exactly the kind of thing that cable television and satellite TV people love to package here as part of their "basic package" so that they can claim a higher number of viewer choices. Oh well, I can dream.


  1. Very cool. I do wish we had something like this. Of course lately I don't end up watching anything because our dvr refuses to record anything. I should call comcast, but I'm afraid they might mess up something else.

  2. But dont you get Book Television?

    Oops sorry. I didn't realise it's a Canadian channel.


  3. Heather, maybe one day, weirdos like us, will get our wish and we will have as many "book programs" as we have trashy reality shows today. Here's hoping...

  4. I'm going to have to check that link, historia. Sounds like something else that I'll wish we had here. :-)

  5. I hope the German book channel succeeds. I don't have cable so I don't know if the US Book-TV is any good. And I'm afraid that if I did have cable I'd spend way too much time watching Book-TV, the History channel and all that.

  6. That would be lovely. BookTV had a quickie poll the other day on their website so I was able to tell them a little less war and politics and a little more science & history. Non fiction encompasses more than Iraq. I mean, it's good to have the information out there but geez.

  7. Stephanie, BookTV in the U.S. has a lot of potential but I don't think their "programmer" is doing a very good job...too much time wasted on politics.

  8. I totally agree, Carrie. I'm going to have to be sure to fill out that survey next time I see it.