European book market: rising prices, falling sales and booming travel guides
Rising prices can only partially compensate for falling sales in many places on the European book market. This was revealed by a special survey covering seven countries carried out for the past year by GfK Entertainment. In Germany, for example, books cost 1.9 percent more but 3.5 percent fewer titles were sold, meaning that revenues also declined by 1.8 percent. The situation was similar in 2022 in neighbouring France, where average prices, which also rose by 1.9 percent, were unable to compensate for the drop in sales (-4.8 percent), resulting in the market closing the year with a 3.0 percent loss in revenue. In Switzerland (-3.6 percent) and the Belgian regions of Flanders (-2.3 percent) and Wallonia (-6.0 percent), revenues were also down significantly.
Netherlands and Spain post the strongest results in years
Although the Spanish book market recorded a 1.0 percent decline in sales in 2022, revenues rose by 1.0 percent, ensuring the strongest sales figures since the launch of the GfK Book Panel in 2011. The Netherlands even notched up the best returns since 2006 with very respectable revenue growth of 3.2 percent. Portugal reported strong growth too (+16.2 percent), whereas Italy was only just in positive territory (+0.2 percent).
Compared with the pre-pandemic year 2019, 2022 saw double-digit growth in many countries, with rates exceeding 18 percent in Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, for example. In Germany, on the other hand, sales posted negative growth (-1.4 percent). However, if the figures for digital audio books and streaming subscriptions from the GfK Consumer Panel, which incorporates the data for physical book and audio book sales as well as e-books, are added, this provides a picture of total retail sales and shows that the book market grew there too (+2.6 percent).
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