E-books 1.8% of French market

E-books 1.8% of French market

E-book sales in France amounted to 1.8% of total book sales last year, or €54m (£48.9m) excluding applications and licences, according to Antoine Gallimard, president of the French Booksellers Association (Syndicat National de l’Edition) and c.e.o. of Editions Gallimard.

Although online sales of e-books rose by some 40% year-on-year in 2010, they still represented only about a third of the 1.8%, Gallimard told the SNE general assembly yesterday. The other two-thirds were made up of physical forms of distribution, such as CD-Roms and USB keys. If applications and licence revenues are added, SNE figures show that e-books held 2.5% of the book market last year.

"There is a real gap between the fascination for digitisation and its commercial reality," said Gallimard. "It is difficult to distinguish between credible promising for the opening and growth of our markets and fantasies that this new technological age can generate . . . the people who are getting rich today are the tablet vendors."

With overall retail sales of €4.6bn excluding VAT, books remained the leading cultural industry, significantly ahead of music and cinema, Gallimard said. Publishers’ net revenues remained stable at €2.8bn, although they dropped by 2.7% taking account of inflation despite a 6% rise in the number of titles published.

The book industry is holding up better than is generally believed, Gallimard added. Strong sales increases were reported for contemporary fiction, drama, poetry, historical novels, essays and art books.

Referring to the next Paris Book Fair, to be held 16th to 19th March, he said that Japan would be the country of honour and Moscow would be the city of honour.