Europe's major publishing markets all grew in 2016

Europe's major publishing markets all grew in 2016

Europe's major markets - the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy - all experienced growth in turnover in 2016, according to a Federation of European Publishers' (FEP) report. However, the dive in the British pound following the UK's decision to leave the European Union in June 2016 resulted in flat total annual sales revenue for publishers in the EU and EEA in comparison to 2015, due to strong exchange rate effects.

Publishers’ net turnover in the UK, including exports, was up 5.9% in 2016 "a very positive result no matter the exchange rates", according to the FEP. But when converting the revenues in Euros from Pounds, the total amount was half a billion lower than it would have been, had the GBP maintained its value from the previous year. The Publishers Association’s Publishing Yearbook showed UK publishing earnings in 2016 were £4.8bn, a rise of 7% on 2015 value, across consumer, education and academic/professional, both physical and digital books, journals and including home and export.

The FEP's report, European Book Publishing Statistics, which is based on data from 29 European national book publishing associations, reveals total annual sales revenue of book publishers of the EU and the EEA to be substantially the same level in 2016 in comparison to 2015 at approximately €22.3bn (2015: €22.3 bn). The figures refer to net publishers’ turnover (rounded conservatively and in some cases estimated), excluding selling rights for translation and audiovisual adaptation.

The largest markets in terms of publishers’ turnover in 2016 were Germany, the UK, France, Spain and Italy, the report said, while it estimated the total market value for European book publishing at €36-38bn.

New title output from European publishers was up, with a total of 590,000 new titles issued in 2016, representing a 2.6% increase in title output on the previous survey (2015: 575,000). The UK was among the countries reporting the largest new titles output, alongside Germany, France, Spain and Italy. 

The survey also showed staffing levels remained roughly the same in 2016, with a total of approximately 125,000 people employed full time in book publishing (2015: 125,000).

Looking at long-term trends, the FEP said "the good performance of exports became even stronger in 2015 and 2016, while the e-book market (now around 6% of the total) showed signs of stagnation". 

It added: "Discounting the exchange rate effects, 2016 could be considered the second consecutive year of growth, something that had not happened since the start of the economic crisis in 2008; title output keeps increasing."