Around 130,000 people are employed in European book publishing, while some estimates suggest that the whole market (containing production, distribution, and sales) employs about 500,000 people in Europe.
We decided to take an in-depth look into the European book market and present the most important and interesting statistics that describe the evolution and current state of book publishing in Europe.
Book sales in Europe
Book sales in Europe have stagnated over the last decade, usually around €22 billion. However, 2021 was a big year for publishing in Europe, and it will be interesting to see if things will return to “normal” with 2022 reports.
- Book sales in Europe generated over €23.6 billion ($27.85 billion) in revenue for 2021. This is a 6.31% increase over 2020.
- Outside of 2021, sales revenue for the book publishing industry in Europe remained unchanged over the last decade.
- Book sales in Europe for 2021 were still below the 2007 and 2008 levels, peak years for European book publishing in the 21st century.
- European book publishing revenue accounts for 20.1% of the global revenue as of 2021.
|Year||Book sales revenue||Change|
Most of the books in Europe are sold in the domestic markets, around 81.7% of the revenue, and the remaining 18.3% is generated through export.
Domestic market book revenue in Europe is the highest for at least 10 years, while export revenue is among the lowest over the last 10 years.
|Year||Domestic market revenue||Export revenue||Domestic market share||Export share|
Book sales channels in Europe
For the second year in a row, bookstores don’t account for the majority of the book sales in Europe. The decline in bookstore sales can be explained by the rise of online sales during the pandemic.
- Over €10.29 billion was generated from bookstore sales in Europe in 2021, accounting for 43.6% of total book sales.
- In 2019, bookstore sales accounted for 50.3% of all book sales, and this was the last year in which bookstore sales made up the majority of book sales in Europe.
- On the other hand, online book sales revenue increased by 33.3% in 2021 compared to 2019 and now accounts for over 29.1% of total book sales.
- The remaining two sales channels (direct sales and supermarket sales) remained constant over the last 3 years.
|Year||Bookstore sales||Supermarket sales||Online sales||Direct sales|
|Change 2021 vs. 2020||3.69%||2.73%||7.04%||15.10%|
|Change 2021 vs. 2019||-8.68%||0.13%||33.30%||13.30%|
Book sales by segment in Europe
Trade books are the leading segment of the book publishing industry in Europe, generating the majority of sales revenue for the second consecutive year in 2021. Along with the trade segment, children’s books are also on the rise in the European book market.
On the other hand, educational and academic book sales have declined in Europe over the last 10 years, both in terms of the overall sales revenue and the share of the segment in the book publishing market.
- Trade books generated over €11.92 billion in Europe in 2021, €750 million more than in 2020.
- Trade books account for over 50.5% of the European book market as of 2021, the second consecutive year with the majority contribution.
- Educational books are the second largest segment in the European book market, generating over €4.11 billion in sales and accounting for 17.4% of the market revenue.
- Academic books account for 17.1% of the market and generate over €4.04 billion in revenue in Europe.
- Even though the smallest segment with a sales revenue of €3.54 billion, children’s books are the fastest-growing segment in Europe. As of 2021, they account for 15% of the book revenue.
|Year||Educational books revenue||Academic books revenue||Trade books revenue||Children books revenue|
Number of books published in Europe
- Over 575,000 new titles are published in Europe annually as of 2021, 3.4% less than in 2020.
- This presents the lowest publishing record in the European book market since 2014.
- Overall, around 13.4 million titles are available in the European market as of 2021.
- As of 2021, newly-published titles account for 4.3% of the total available titles in Europe.
|Year||Titles published (thousand)||Change||Titles available (thousand)|