Flat turnover for European publishers despite record output, finds FEP

Flat turnover for European publishers despite record output, finds FEP

Net turnover for the European publishing industry was roughly flat last year at €22.2bn (2016: £22.3bn) despite a "significant increase" in the number of new titles issued at 610,000, according to data from the Federation of European Publishers (FEP).

The body said this was due mainly to exchange rate issues, with the majority of markets in fact showing "some degree of growth", reflecting overall "increased stability" for the industry. Discounting the exchange rate effects, the FEP wrote in its analysis of the figures that 2017 could actually be considered "the third consecutive year of growth".

The data is based on a survey that FEP conducted with 29 national book publishing associations in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). It asked for publishers’ total revenues from the sales of books, rather than being based on the total market for books (margin of booksellers or other retailers). The figures also exclude revenues derived from rights sales.

Based on the survey findings, the FEP estimated total market value for 2017 at €36-38 billion, with markets including the UK,  Germany, France, Spain and Italy leading in terms of turnover.

According to FEP's data publishers' output is significantly increasing year-on-year - from 545,000 in 2014, 575,000 in 2015 and 590,000 in 2017 to 610,000 in 2017.  It also found an increase of 1% in the European publishing workforce. 130,000 people were employed full time in book publishing in 2017, according to the results of FEP's survey (2016: 1250,000); FEP conceded, however, as in previous years, that this is "an area where it is difficult to gather reliable data". It estimated the entire book value chain (including authors, booksellers, printers, designers, and so forth) employs more than half a million people.

FEP president Rudy Vanschoonbeek commented: "We are glad to see signs of recovery once again in many countries hit by the crisis, and to witness an increased stability of the market, albeit amidst news of a decreasing number of readers across several territories. Publishers remain committed to offer to their readers many quality books to inform them and entertain them and we hope, with the support of adequate policies, to see a reversal of this trend in the coming years."