I came across a bookmark in a German biography today with the word Lesepause written on the top. I assume this means bookmark, but I can't find any references to this word in any Wörterbücher. What does this word mean, why is it used here, and when would one use this in general?
Technically, a "Lesepause" could be two things:
a break for reading
a break from reading
Written on a book mark, it's likely intended to mean the latter. The book mark is kind of the objectified reading break. If we find a book with a book mark, we know that someone stopped reading there with the intention to come back later. The question whether it was a break or not is just a matter of perspective (two days can be a break, too).
Theoretically, the word Lesepause could also be intended to welcome the reader as he opens a book to have a "Lesepause" in the first sense.
Personally, I perceive it to be the other version though.
My Mum is teaching in a primary School.
After the 4th and before the 5th lesson, there is a so called "Lesepause", were the children have to read a Book from the "Lesekiste"(A box with children books in), for 20 minutes.
May it helps, else Emanuel already gave an explanation about the meaning, just wanted to provide a practical example
"Lesepause" might mean that someone who reads a lot stops reading for some time for various reasons. His eyes might be tired or he wants to take off some time to think about what he has read. If it is written on a bookmark then the meaning might be: Here I stopped reading because I had to walk the dog. But it might also mean: time/a pause for reading and not working. So it might be a play on words.
If you read something aloud (eg. a story for children, a poem, etc.) the punctuation marks of sentences indicate
Lesepausen as locations to pause shortly from reading to
make the structure of the sentence obvious to the listener.
This helps to recognize insertions, side-notes, etc.
I guess, that all other answers are correct as well (essentially "a break from or for reading") and it depends on the context.
Agree with Martin Büttner in the comments. It is most probably meant in the sense of Kaffeepause, where you are taking a break to drink coffee.
Lesepause is when you take a break (Pause) to read (lesen) something.
It is also possible to mean a break from reading like others suggest, but that doesn't feel right for me as a native speaker.
I guess it actually means both in your case, and plays with the two meanings.
If I remember right, I saw this kind of publisher's advertisement hidden in books. It can be used as a bookmark (nice design, intelligent joke) and at the same time, it attracts potential readers. If I'm right, then there should be one or two new books advertised.