Digital subscriptions help Sweden market rise as physical sales sink

Digital subscriptions help Sweden market rise as physical sales sink

Physical book sales in Sweden are falling but the take-up of digital subscription services is on the rise, leading to a boost in revenue during 2019, new figures show.

Statistics published by trade magazine Svensk Bokhandel showed sales nudged up 1.1% by value and 4.9% by volume in 2019 compared to the previous year.

Digital subscription services increased 36.2% by value but online stores saw a 5.2% dip. Physical bookstores had a 4.4% decline while other retailers had a plunge by value of 9.9%.

By volume, digital subscription services had a 22.9% increase, with declines of 5.5% in physical bookstores, 8.7% online and 9.1% for other retailers.

Fiction is increasing strongly while non-fiction is decreasing, which is partly due to the fact that subscription services are getting bigger shares in the market, said Erik Wikberg, a researcher at Handelshögskolan in Stockholm and author of a report on the figures.

Fiction sales rose 9.6% by value, with thrillers up 4.5% and foreign literature increasing 6.6%. Non-fiction fell by 6%, the figures showed. Children's books and YA titles decreased slightly by 1.8%, reversing a trend that has seen gradual sales increases since 2013.