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The book market in Germany is one of the largest and liveliest in the world. On the occasion of the Frankfurt Book Fair, it is worth taking a look at the most important current data and facts.
How high is the turnover on the German book market?
The book market in Germany recorded stable sales in 2018. A total of 9.13 billion euros were turned over, exactly as much as in the previous year. For comparison: the film industry had a turnover of 2.93 billion euros, the music industry 1.58 billion. Computer and video games came to 3.51 billion.
How has the number of buyers developed?
According to market researchers from GfK, there were around 300,000 more people who bought books in 2018 than in the previous year. This corresponds to an increase of 1 percent to 29.9 million book buyers.
This number has risen again for the first time since 2012. From 2013 to 2017, the number of buyers on the consumer book market fell by 6.4 million. In 2017, 29.6 million people bought at least one book, which corresponds to 44 percent of the population aged 10 and over.
How many books have been sold?
In 2018, 358 million books were sold on the public market,
In 2014 it was 387 million. Those who buy books, however, buy more and more titles on average and spend more money on them. In 2018, the average purchase intensity was 12.0 titles per buyer; in 2014 it was 11.3 titles. Average spending per capita rose from 120 euros per buyer in 2014 to 136 euros per buyer in 2018.
Where do German citizens buy their books?
The stationary book trade remained the largest sales channel for books in 2018 with a turnover of 4.27 billion euros and a share of 46.8 percent of the overall market. Sales in the local shops fell by 0.7 percent compared to the previous year. The turnover of the online book trade, which also includes the online business of stationary retailers, continues to rise: the book trade made 4 percent more turnover than 2017 with 1.78 billion euros via the online shops.
The share of sales in the overall market rose to 19.5 percent. The direct business of publishers, including with companies and government institutions, was slightly below the previous year's level in 2018 at 1.92 billion euros (-1.2 percent, share of sales: 21.0 percent).
What is the area where most books are bought from?
Fiction was far ahead in 2018 with a 31.5 percent share of sales. This was followed by children's and young people's books with 16.6 percent, advice books with 14 percent, school and learning with 11 percent, and science and non-fiction with 10.6 percent each. Travel literature accounts for 5.7 percent of sales.
How are the e-books developing?
Germans bought significantly more e-books in 2018 than ever before.
Sales cracked the 30 million mark for the first time and rose by 12.7 percent to 32.8 million e-books. In the same period, sales increased by 9.3 percent compared to 2017. For the first time in five years, the number of buyers rose again: 3.6 million people bought at least one e-book in 2018 (2017: 3.5 million). Purchasing intensity also continued to increase: on average, every buyer put 9.2 e-books in their shopping cart, almost one more than in the previous year (8.3 items).
How many books are published each year?
The production of new book titles reached another record low in 2018. The number of first editions fell from 72,499 titles (2017) to 71,548. In 2007 there were more than 86,000. After an increase in 2017, the number of new titles in fiction fell again to 13,879 (2017: 14,273). There were more new publications in subjects such as the social sciences (12,734 new titles, 2017: 12,218) or history and geography (6,956 new titles, 2017: 6,757).
What were the best-selling books in the past year?
The best-selling novel of 2018 (fiction hardcover) was "Der Insasse" by Sebastian Fitzek. "The Tyranny of the Butterfly" by Frank Schätzing follows in second place, while Dörte Hansen's "Mittagsstunde" took third place. In the non-fiction books (hardcover) category, Michelle Obama's autobiography "Becoming" came out on top. It was followed in second place by Stephen Hawking's "Short Answers to Big Questions" and in third place by Bas Kast's "The Nutrition Compass".
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