Tag Archives: USA

China is the largest book market in the world: together with USA, more than half of all titles published

2017-08-20

China has rapidly become the largest market for books in the world. Of all the 1.6 million new book titles published in 2015, 28% of them were published in China. The second largest market, the U.S., published 20% of new titles launched to the global markets in 2015.

The vast population of China, more than one billion, explains part of the success of books in the country, but it is not the whole story. India’s population is roughly at the same level as China’s population, but India is nowhere near China when the number of published books are considered.

China has very quickly developed from a primarily farming society into an industrial society that is rapidly turning into a new technology powerhouse. That requires masses of well educated engineers, managers, and marketers. Books are a great way to learn, and of course, be entertained.

Book statistics have been published by the International Publishers Association (IPA). The numbers come from publishers, and don’t include self-published titles.

Below a graph by Quartz that shows the number of new book titles published in each in 2015:

book titles published by country. Source IPA, graph Quartz
The relative importance of books, or how the society values books, in each society can be studied by dividing the number of citizens by the number of new titles. Now, the story is completely different. European countries rise on top. Top 10 of published titles per million inhabitants is all European countries, followed by the U.S.

UK, France, and Spain export plenty of books to other countries where English, French or Spanish is spoken, but why are Scandinavian countries so high in the top 10? Every Scandinavian country has its own language, making each market small. Book industry is a subsidized business in these countries. Authors may get allowances, translators may receive grants, and value added taxes for books are lower than for other products.

books published per million inhabitants by country, source IPA.

Digital Book Revenues Accounted for 35% of the UK Publishing Market in 2014

2015-05-12

The UK Publishers Association has tallied up the numbers for the book market in the United Kingdom in 2014, and the results are pleasant reading for ebook publishers, but not so for print book publishers. Revenues from digital products accounted for 35% of the total market in the UK in 2014. The total market was GBP 4.3 billion, down 2% from previous year. The rapid growth in sales of ebooks couldn’t compensate the decline of printed books in the UK.

Highlights from the Publishers Association report:

– Fiction is still the hottest ebook category with sales increasing to 37% of total ebook market value.
– Children’s books (up 36%) – with the sector up 11% overall.
– Academic textbooks (up 17%) now at 24% of sector sales.
– Audiobook downloads up 24% from previous year.
– Educational materials for schools up 20%.

Apple iPad, ebook, eyeglasses, books,

We have been closely following the ebook market for five years (Klaava Media is a non-fiction ebook publisher), and it still hasn’t stopped surprising us. A year ago, growth in the U.S., the ebook market leader showed first signs of slowing down. Early 2015 proved it to be worse than that, because ebook revenues decreased for the first time since 2007.

In other parts of the world, however, it is completely different situation. In many countries, annual ebook growth numbers are huge, because digital market share from total book market can be anywhere from 1 to 10%. Countries, such as Germany, Netherlands and France are now experiencing high growth rates because large product selection in digital format is available for readers and competing retail systems, like Amazon, Apple iBooks, Google Play and Tolino fight for digital customers.

Why is the US ebook market so different to the rest of the world?

Some analysts have already voted for the return of agency pricing in the US that has caused somewhat higher prices, slowing down sales of ebooks. We don’t believe it is the reason for the US market setback. The real reason is a natural cycle of the new, strongly developing tech/media market.

First wave:
Amazon Kindle ereader started this wave in 2007. It was a new device designed solely for reading ebooks. The Kindle and low-cost Kindle ebooks were the reason why the first wave was successful in the English-language markets. Since then, many other E ink ereader brands have been introduced, but the sales of pure ereader devices have been declining for some time already.

Second wave:
Tablets and phablets. More and more people are enjoying digital books because they are able to read books on a tablet or on a large-screen smartphone they already have. Outside English-language markets, the growth of ebooks really took off with tablets and it continues with the success of phablets.

Third wave:
Ebooks will develop further. Currently, ebooks are more or less just like their print book cousins, only the layout may slightly differ. Especially, non-fiction books, textbooks, academic books, and online publications will benefit from the new possibilities digital technology allows for books, such as video, audio, and interactivity.

EPUB3, Apple iBooks and to some extent Kindle book formats already allow creating such books, but compatibility with reader devices and apps is poor at the moment. This is where we will see all kinds of successful and less successful trials in the next few years. Some of them will stick and show the way to the future of book.

The U.S., UK or any other market hasn’t yet moved to the third wave (or beyond). When it happens, expect strong growth for media we used to call books.