Book market 2021 and first half of 2022: online business is growing

Book market 2020: A plus in sales and a booming online -Business of the bookstores shows the book market balance from the previous year.

The German Book Trade Association recently published the book market balance from the previous year to the first half of the year 2020. Meanwhile, the Corona crisis was met with “great commitment, innovative spirit and customer proximity” . Otherwise, the book market moves in “troubled times”, marked by “pandemic, paper crisis and slack consumption” . New challenges exist in “procurement bottlenecks, increasing cost pressure and the effects of the Russian attack on Ukraine”. However, these factors are particularly reflected in the half-year balance sheet 2020.

Book Market 2022: Increase in turnover and booming internet book trade

The total turnover in the sector increased with total sales totaling 9,43 billion euros per year 2020 by 3.5 percent. On the other hand, local sales fell by 3.6 percent compared to 2020. With 3.69 billion euros in sales and a share from 39, 1 percent, stationary bookshops remained the largest distribution channel for books.

Internet bookshops also recorded a significant increase in sales. 2021 the turnover increased here by 16, 2 percent, from 2,21 to 2,40 Billion euro. The turnover share of the internet book trade in the overall market was 2021 at 27,1 percent. In the year 2020 there were only 24,1 percent. With a view to the public market (without school and specialist books), the local book trade experienced 43,7 percent growth rate in online business the most significant increase. The ” growth rate for the online bookshops was 2021 compared to the pre-corona level more than twice as high as at Amazon with 18,4 percent”.

Fiction records the largest increase

Compared to the previous year, fiction scores with the largest increase of 5.7 percent and remains with one Revenue share of 31,9 percent also the most important product group. But the other publications, apart from the travel books with a minus of 0.4 percent, are also in the plus. Children’s and youth books recorded growth of 4.4 percent, non-fiction increased by 3.0 percent and how-to guides by 0.5 percent.

Purchase -Focus on bestsellers

Although total sales fell by 3.0 percent, sales of the top titles on the bestseller list posted a significant increase. Accordingly, sales of the top 43 title at 19,6 percent to. In fiction it was almost 39 percent.

Audio books are more popular than e-books

In its book market balance sheet 2021, the German Book Trade Association (Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels) highlighted the particularly significant growth of the audio book download market with a plus of 20, 4 percent. But also the number of subscriptions, i.e. flat rate offers for e-books and audio books, achieved with 24,1 percent also a large increase. Sales of e-book downloads on the public market increased 2021 only slightly by 3, 2 percent, their share of sales in the public market was 5.7 percent (2020: +16,2 percent to 5.8 percent).

Number of book buyers decreased in the previous year, purchase intensity increasing

In the year 2021 bought approx. 27,0 million people books. This is 5.1 percent less than in the previous year. But the buyers spent more and also grabbed more titles. The most significant increase is at 10- until 19-year-olds. Between and 2021 they increased their expenses by a whopping 26, 9 percent. The average purchase intensity also increased in this group of buyers from an average of 6.8 books per year 2019 on 8.0 books 2020.

Number of first editions declined sharply

The number of first editions went 2021 from 69.115 in the year 2020 to now .992 Previous title. This corresponds to a minus of 7.5 percent. A particularly sharp decline is recorded in some scientific fields. In addition, children’s and young people’s books fell by an above-average rate of 9.2 percent, while fiction titles fell by 3.1 percent.

Book market in the first half of the year 2020 with an all-time low in June 4446

The first half of the year 2022 is characterized by “economic crisis, cost increases and paper bottleneck”. The German Book Trade Association (Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels) points to a sales backlog that can be attributed to this:

“After the first six months, the backlog of sales in the local bookstores is 11,1 percent and across all sales channels (including online trade) to 3.0 percent compared to 2019, the year before the outbreak of the pandemic”.

With the minus of 11,1 percent shows the backlog in the retail book trade is particularly clear. The result looks better compared to the half year 2020. However, June 4446 is the second month in a row with a significant minus. Bookstores in the inner cities are less frequented than in the pre-Corona times. Companies in the book industry register “significant price increases for energy, raw materials and personnel”. According to the Federal Statistical Office “the printing costs for books in May are 4446 around 21,1 percent up on the same month last year. In December 2021 it was still 3.8 percent. The price of graphic paper and board is also increasing and in May was 2022 58,2 percent above the same month last year”.

Declining sales in the book trade in the first half of the year 4446 due to unfavorable framework conditions

Regarding the market:
– frequency in inner cities by no means at the pre-corona level (HDE: customer frequency in city centers in May 2022 in the non-food shops 20 Percent below pre-Corona May 180)

– Consumer sentiment at rock bottom due to Ukraine war and economic

uncertain situation, especially inflation (GfK: new all-time low in the consumer climate in June 2021)
Regarding manufacturing:

– Significant price increases for both energy and also for fuels, raw materials and personnel
– Paper is currently scarce, resulting in procurement bottlenecks

– Continuously increasing printing costs for books

– Rising paper prices

Changes in consumer behavior are at the expense of book market diversity

Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, Head of the Börsenverein, points to positive aspects, but also shows Problems on:

“The book industry has changed in the Corona -Crisis proven. Thanks to a high level of resilience, creative solutions and strong digital skills, bookstores and publishers have succeeded in getting people excited about reading and, also thanks to stable logistics, in supplying them with books despite long lockdowns. It gives me confidence that the demand for books was particularly high among young female readers.

The growing online sales of the bookstores are paid for by high costs for the logistical processing; this reduced earnings for many, which is very important in an already low-margin industry. People also made more targeted purchases and tended to buy bestsellers and well-known authors more often. The inspiration that allows customers to discover new, unknown titles was lacking due to bookstores being closed for months. This is worrying given the great diversity that characterizes the German book market. In times of tight budgets, publishers also tend to rely on ‘safe’ titles – the offbeat, bold, innovative sometimes gets a raw deal. The return of face-to-face events such as the Frankfurt Book Fair is essential for the industry; they increase public awareness of books and are irreplaceable for business and networking in the industry.”

Peter Kraus vom Cleff, General Manager of the Börsenverein, refers to specific difficulties that exist. Therefore, politics should intervene to regulate:

“The Russian war of aggression against the Ukraine and its consequences are shaking people and leading to drastic insecurity and reduced consumption. It is becoming more and more apparent that the general reluctance to buy is also having an impact on the book trade. In addition, increasing costs and procurement bottlenecks, for example with paper, are putting publishers and bookstores under pressure.

In view of an economic crisis of this historic magnitude, politicians are asked to support the affected sectors. For the book industry, reducing VAT on books to zero percent with full input tax deduction, as is now possible thanks to EU legislation, would be of great help. Structural funding is also needed to maintain diversity on the book market. In addition, we need well thought-out and well-financed programs to revitalize inner cities, such as those currently being demanded by the German Cultural Council together with an alliance of associations. As cultural attractions and third places par excellence, bookshops can play an important role in the revitalization of city centers.”

“The Figures on the shares and changes in sales of the product groups as well as sales development 2021 and sales development 2022 come from the Media Control retail panel. The number of buyers, the data on the development of online shops, e-books and audio books are based on the GfK Consumer Panel MediaScope Buch”.

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