Feminist publishers are the sensation in the German book trade. Fifteen participated in the October 1978 Frankfurt Book Fair—up from five at the previous year's fair; but even five had created a stir in the establishment. The entire phenomenon has sprung up in four years, a measure of the great accomplishment of the women's movement in a society that, compared to that of the United States or England, holds women in open contempt.
Far and away the biggest, most stunningly successful enterprise is the Frauenoffensive Verlag in Munich. Its rise to a snug place among established publishers was aided by a lucky strike early on-Verena Stefan's best-seller, Häutungen (Shedding). The eight-woman publishing collective had been working together for two years, tied financially to a left-oriented male publishing house, when Stefan walked in with her manuscript. The novel was introduced at the October 1975 book fair; two months later , the first 3,000 copies were sold out; a month after that, Frauenoffensive cut loose from its male patrons. Over 150,000 copies of Häutungen have been sold since then, and it has been translated into seven languages, including English.