Karl books

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Karl Wilhelm Bücher , rarely also Carl (born February 16, 1847 in Kirberg , Duchy of Nassau ; † November 12, 1930 Leipzig ), was a German economist . He was one of the founding fathers of newspaper science in Europe . His contributions to the sociology of work ( work and rhythm ) and economic history ( the emergence of the national economy ) were also innovative . He also dealt with reciprocal processes in society.


Karl-Bücher monument in Bad Liebenstein

Books was the son of master brush maker Friedrich Bücher, who ran small-scale manufacturing and agriculture in Kirberg, and his wife Christiane. Karl Bücher attended high school in Hadamar from 1863 to 1866 . He studied ancient history and philology at the universities of Bonn and Göttingen . After his doctorate, which he took in 1870, he passed the state examination in 1872 and worked as a teacher in Dortmund during his probationary year. From 1873 to 1878 he was a teacher at the Wöhlerschule in Frankfurt am Main , which was sponsored by the Polytechnic Society . During this time he pursued economics studies in addition to his teaching activities.

In 1878, Bücher accepted an offer from the publisher of the Frankfurter Zeitung , Leopold Sonnemann , and became editor of the social and economic policy department . Due to an increasing interest in social and economic policy issues at the beginning of the Bismarck era , he considered a habilitation . In 1881 he received the Venia legendi for economics and statistics at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich . After professorships at the Universities of Dorpat and Basel and at the Technical University of Karlsruhe , he followed a call to Leipzig in 1892 , where he taught until 1917.

From 1901 to 1923 he was editor of the journal for the entire political science .

In 1903, Karl Bücher published the memorandum “The German Book Trade and Science”, which was a climax in the book dispute named after him . In it he criticized fixed book prices because they favor cartel formation and make print products more expensive.

Bücher's work on economics is characteristic of the perspective of the “younger historical school” in economics. Its aim was to track down contemporary problems by reconstructing their historical roots. This is also reflected in Bücher's “ Wirtschaftsstufentheorie ”, which he presented in the work with which he gained reputation and fame as a political economist , his two-part collection of essays “ The emergence of economics ” (1893, 1918).

Little is known that together with Johann Friedrich Schär , Bücher is the inventor of the (today so called) break-even analysis . He formulated the law of mass production .

After his retirement , Bücher devoted himself to the field that has accompanied him throughout his life - practically in his years as a journalist for the Frankfurter Zeitung , theoretically in his economics teaching -: newspaper studies . In 1916 he set up the first institute for newspaper studies in Germany at the University of Leipzig . The aim of the institute was to enable the budding journalists to receive an academically sound, vocational and newspaper-related training in order to raise the level of the press. On the other hand, he wanted to create a place for serious scientific research for the press. In 1926, his efforts in the subject culminated in the establishment of the first full professorship for newspaper studies, to which Erich Everth was appointed.

He was buried in the columbarium in the south cemetery in Leipzig (niche II / 25). The urn was stolen in the early 1990s.

The foreign politician and industrialist Hermann Bücher was his nephew.


  • His students built a memorial for him in Bad Liebenstein in the forest near his summer home ( "My Belvedere" ).
  • The Karl-Bücher-Strasse as in Bremen - Mahndorf and Leipzig- Paunsdorf were named after him.
  • In 2018, the University of Leipzig established the "Karl-Bücher Visiting Professorship for the Future of Journalism" in the Institute for Communication and Media Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy. The first owners are Constantin Blaß and Julia Bönisch .


  • The population of Frankfurt am Main in the XIV. And XV. Century, social-statistical studies , Laupp, Tübingen 1886, ( Digitalisat  - Internet Archive )
  • Division of labor and social class formation , 1892, new edition Frankfurt 1946
  • The emergence of the national economy , Laupp, Tübingen 1893 Digitized and full text in the German text archive ; numerous editions up to 1925, reprints of the supplemented seventh edition (Tübingen 1910) Paderborn 2011, ISBN 978-3863830588 and o. O., o. J. (2010) ISBN 978-1147885538 ; Reprint of the 10th corrected and expanded edition o. O., o. J. (2009) ISBN 978-1117280547 digital version (10th issue )
  • Work and rhythm , Teubner, Leipzig 1899
  • The German book trade and science , Teubner, Leipzig 1903
  • Regulations and documents on the history of the book trade . Leipzig 1903.
  • The question of women in the Middle Ages . 2nd, improved edition, Tübingen 1910. Digitized
  • The professions of the city of Frankfurt am Main in the Middle Ages , (= Treatises of the Philological-Historical Class of the Royal Saxon Society of Sciences. Volume 30, 3). Teubner, Leipzig 1914. Digitized
  • Together with Benno Schmidt: Frankfurt official and guild documents up to 1612 . 2 volumes (= publications of the Frankfurt Historical Commission Volume 6, 1–2). Frankfurt am Main 1914–1915.
  • Memories of life , Laupp, Tübingen 1919 (only volume 1 published)
  • On the question of press reform , Mohr, Tübingen 1922
  • Division of labor and social class formation , Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 1946


  • Jürgen G. Backhaus (Ed.): Karl books. Theory - History - Anthropology - Non Market Economies. Metropolis, Marburg 2000, ISBN 3-89518-229-X
  • Walter BraeuerBooks, Karl Wilhelm. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 2, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1955, ISBN 3-428-00183-4 , p. 718 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Wolfgang Drechsler with Rainer Kattel: Karl books in Dorpat . In: Trames 1: 4 (1997), pp. 322–368 (shorter version also in the Backhaus volume)
  • Thomas Düe: Progress and freedom from value judgments . Theories of Development in the Historical Economics of the Empire . Dissertation, Bielefeld University 2001 ( full text )
  • Sebastian Göschel: After all, we are all Bücher's students. The Leipzig economist Karl books. In: Leipziger Blätter , 57, autumn 2010, p. 64 f.
  • Eckhard Hansen, Florian Tennstedt (Eds.) U. a .: Biographical lexicon on the history of German social policy from 1871 to 1945 . Volume 1: Social politicians in the German Empire 1871 to 1918. Kassel University Press, Kassel 2010, ISBN 978-3-86219-038-6 , p. 25 f. ( Online , PDF; 2.2 MB).
  • Arnulf Kutsch: List of publications by Karl books. Leipziger Universitäts-Verlag, Leipzig 2000, ISBN 3-934565-59-X (bibliography)
  • Alexander Pinwinkler : Historical population research. Germany and Austria in the 20th century, Wallstein Verlag: Göttingen 2014, here esp. 135–146.
  • Sylvia Straetz: The Institute for Newspaper Studies in Leipzig until 1945. In: Rüdiger vom Bruch and Otto B. Roegele (Hrsg.): From Newspaper Studies to Journalism. Haag and Herchen, Frankfurt am Main 1986, pp. 75-103, ISBN 3-89228-039-8 (with numerous references to Bücher's role)
  • Beate Wagner-Hasel: The Scholar's Work. The economist Karl Bücher (1847–1930). Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2011, ISBN 978-3-5933-9433-6
  • Jürgen Wilke : From newspaper studies to integration science. Roots and dimensions looking back over a hundred years of specialist history of journalism, media and communication studies in Germany. In: Medien & Kommunikationwissenschaft , 64th volume, issue 1/2016, pp. 74–92, ISSN 1615-634X (also deals heavily with Bücher's role in the early days of newspaper studies).
  • Thomas Irmer / Juliana Raupp: “Tummelplatz der Unkultur” - Karl Bücher and the press in World War I, in: Markus Beider, Benjamin Bigl (eds.), 100 Years of Communication Studies in Germany. From a special subject to the integration discipline, Konstanz: UVK 2017, pp. 49–62.


Individual evidence

  1. Description on heimatfreundebali.de
  2. Visiting professors , Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Institute for Communication and Media Studies, University of Leipzig, accessed on January 15, 2020

Web links

Wikisource: Karl books  - sources and full texts