Books – Why It is Becoming a Sellers' Market

Books – Why It is Becoming a Sellers' Market

Jan 31, 2023

Books – Why It is Becoming a Sellers’ Market


The e-book market (now around 10% of the total) had showed signs of stagnation for the last six years.


Sander Sondaal, Director Commercial Print Sales, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe01.30.23




It was interesting to see the upbeat news on the growth in the number of independent bookshops in Great Britain and Ireland from the Booksellers Association. It reported that independent bookshop membership saw its sixth annual consecutive rise to 1,072 shops – the highest it has been for 10 years. It is up from 1,027 in 2021 and significantly higher than the 867 recorded in 2016.


It was individual booksellers in Ireland, as well as Sweden and Norway, that helped those countries enjoy the greatest growth in book sales in Europe according to a Statista study between 2019 and 2020. Growth for the latter two continued to remain strong in 2021. Sales revenue in Sweden was more than 2.1 billion Swedish kronor (E0.19 billion), up from the previous year’s 1.96 billion (E0.17 billion) and in Norway book market revenue grew from 5 billion Norwegian kroner (E0.47 billion) in 2019, to more than 5.9 billion Norwegian kroner (E0.55 billion).


Also enjoying growth has been Hungary where book sales have increased to more than pre-pandemic levels and Spain where sales revenue in 2021 was E2.58 billion, up almost six percent from E2.44 billion a year earlier.


With figures like that it is no surprise that Europe is home to four of the top five largest book publishers worldwide ranked by revenue. Statista reported that RELX Group, Bertelsmann, Pearson, and Wolters Kluwer each generated between E3.7 billion and E5.5 billion worldwide in 2020.


Increasingly these sales are achieved with a broader catalogue of short run publications. According to European Book Publishing Statistics from the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), around 13.4 million different titles, including 3 million in digital format, were stocked in 2021.


This figure was lifted by a surge in different formats of digital publishing, the digitization of back catalogs, the growth of print on demand services and the rise in self-published titles. The countries reporting the largest output of new titles were Germany, Spain, Italy, Great Britain, and France.


The federation reported that the e-book market (now around 10% of the total) had showed signs of stagnation for the last six years while Statista pointed to a subdued annual growth rate of 2.26% for e-book revenue and a projected market volume of E2.52bn by 2027.


Physical books continue to remain the most popular choice. In fact, 65% of respondents preferred physical books over e-books, or audio-books, because of their look, feel, and smell, according to a survey by renewable pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso. The majority of readers enjoy engaging a number of senses for a more pleasurable experience.


So, there are opportunities in the way the book market is evolving for adaptable publishers and book manufacturers.


Supporting responsive and flexible production of short run or on demand books are digital web fed inkjet and digital sheet fed technologies. With software solutions that drive intelligent and effective workflow and maximize efficiencies they can meet fluctuating demand and cost efficiently deliver varying run lengths. They can also streamline production by efficiently organizing and batching incoming orders.


Agile book production has the ability to answer today’s book publishing needs and successfully shape future growth. Are you ready to help write that next chapter?

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