European Book Publishing Statistics 2012

The Federation of European Publishers (FEP) represents 28 national associations of publishers from the European Union and the European Economic Area Member States. The present survey is based on reports from the national book publishing associations, and on further analysis and refining of data, for the year 2012.

Figures on the overall economic significance of the publishing industry refer to net publishers’ turnover, i.e. the publishers’ total revenues from the sales of books, not the total market for books (margin of booksellers or other retailers). They also do not account for revenues in terms of selling rights for translation, audiovisual adaptation, etc. In some cases, only data on market value was available; in such cases, average discount rates were applied to calculate an approximation of net turnover. Figures were rounded conservatively.

The total annual sales revenue of book publishers of the EU and the EEA in 2012 was approximately € 22.5 billion, according to the survey conducted by FEP. This represents a decrease from the last estimate of € 22.8 billion for 2011, with almost all markets recording a lower turnover than the previous year. The largest markets in terms of publishers’ turnover in 2012 were Germany, followed by the UK, France, Spain and Italy.

A total of about 535,000 new titles were issued by publishers in 2012. The figure was taken from different sources, some of which included new editions or non-commercial titles, and was accordingly rounded conservatively. There was therefore an increase of an estimated 1% in the title output from the previous survey. European publishers held a total of about 9 million different titles in stock (of which more than 2 million in digital format), the countries reporting the largest availability being the UK, Germany, Italy, France and Spain. The countries reporting the largest new titles output were the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

A total of approximately 130,000 people were employed full time in book publishing in 2012, an amount slightly lower than one year earlier. However, this is an area where it is difficult to gather reliable data; it is worth mentioning here that EUROSTAT estimates the amount of people employed in book and journal publishing at some 330,000.

Beyond the individual figures, it can be noted that up to 2007 there was a clear growth trend both in terms of turnover and of titles output. In 2008 title production kept growing whilst turnover, adjusting for exchange rates effects, experienced what was predominantly a flat year. 2009 showed a slight decrease in turnover (once the exchange rate effect had been accounted for) and a slowdown of title growth. The crisis had less of an impact on publishing when compared to most other sectors (and within the sector, a stronger impact on exports). In 2010, the trend was reverted and growth resumed (especially exports), although favoured by exchange rates. In 2011, the market went down again, quite independently of exchange rates, and title production growth was sluggish. The same can be said about 2012, with the most notable trends being the continuous growth of the e-book market (now around 3% of the total) and the good performance of exports. This analysis relies on the examination of more detailed data from a number of members that represent over 80% of the total turnover and title production.

For further information: Enrico Turrin, +32 2 770 11 10 -