Ghosts in East Germany
When the Berlin Wall collapsed last November, West German publishers stepped wonderingly into a country at once strange and yet, for te older of them at least, disturbingly familiar. They were unable for 40 years to visit immediate neighbors, former fellow countrymen--sometimes even close relatives--who were separated from them when the Iron Curtain ended the mayhem and displacement across Germany following World War II. They had not visualized the effects of the socialist system on what was once their land.
For some, it was the country of their childhood--quiet, slow, virtually car-free, but left to rot in their absence. They could observe the pressing material wants, from fresh fruit to refrigerators, and soon identified the trade demand. Although much literature, both German and foreign, had been exchanged exchanged across the border over the years through the sale of licenses, there was a total lack of entertainment fiction and of popular nonfiction of al kinds: selfhelp, psychology, sexology, cooking, gardening, health.
An additional 16 million German readers--a potential 25% increase--are expected as the bewildering speed of political change confronts the hitherto unbreachable barrier of the weak East German mark. Chancellor Kohl offered East Germany his country's greatest gift--the powerful West German mark--and declared himself ready for the short-term sacrifices necessary to help bring about in five years the economic progress West Germany achieved over the last 40. Detailed negotiations toward full economic union have begun between East and West.
The promise of ful value on sales in the East beckons West …