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EU book market

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In the media and entertainment markets, the book market is the only one where EU companies (Bertelsman, Hachette, Pearson, Wolters Kluwer) lead. In 2009, global book market revenue was US $ billion 109 (Total size of the media and entertainment market in 2009 according to PWC was 1 357 US $ billion. Media and entertainment includes: internet access fees, internet advertising, TV fees, TV advertising, recorded music, filmed entertainment, video games, consumer magazine publishing, newspaper publishing, radio, book publishing, business-to-business publishing). Of this, the EU market accounted for 44 billion or 40% of the total (PWC, 2011) v. 33 US $ billion for the US (30%). Germany is the largest market (almost 10 billion euros in 2010) in the EU. The US market is highly concentrated with leading firms like Mc Graw Hill, Random House, Penguin or Scholastic. Random House is owned by the German media group Bertelsman and Penguin by the UK publishing house, Pearson. Three of the first five US publishing firms were owned by EU companies, with the Hachette Book Group (Lagardère, France) ranking fifth (Thomson, J.B (2010), p. 116, Table 6: The 12 largest publishers in the US, 2007-2008.).

However, the US dominates the electronic book market, with 57% of the global spending in 2010 (PWC 2011). 77 million digital general books were sold in the US in 2010, amounting to 9% of the market for general books in terms of copies sold (academic and professional e-books were not included) and 6% of the value of the entire book market (revenues of around 759 million US $) (AAP (Association of American Publishers) quoted by Poort et al, 2012: 41). Amazon, the market leader, sells 65% of e-books reaching consumers. Nevertheless, the growth of this digital segment does not offset the losses of revenues over a longer period of time.

Book publishing is a significant market in the EU, with a turnover of 23 billion euros in 2009 according to the Federation of European Publishers. Figure 1 introduces the core data for turnover, number of titles and level of employment and Figure 2 the data for distribution across categories. These figures show a relative stability, though employment level has decreased and numbers of published titles have increased. The revenues of the different categories also remain stable: trade is the largest segment (over 50% in 2009).

Turnover, number of titles and employment Figure 1: Turnover (billion euros), number of titles (thousand) and employment (thousand), 2004-2009.

Source: FEP, 2011

Figure 2: Turnover broken down by categories 2006-2009

Source: FEP, 2011.

The EU27 publishing industry has a higher number of firms than the other major markets (Table 1), but a much lower number of employees per firm (less than seven on average) compared to the US for instance (over a hundred). The value added of the EU sector appears stable (10 826 million euros) and its productivity – 53 000 euros per employee – is much higher than the EU average of 19 800 euros.

Table 1: Overview of the number of firms, employees (Value added at factor costs divided by number of employees):

  • Region/ country >>> Number of firms >>> Number of employees
  • EU27 (2007) >>> 31 813 >>> 201 100
  • United States (2001) >>> 5 409 >>> 547 196
  • Japan (2001) >>> 1 628 >>> 63 772
  • China (2001) >>> 190 >>> 121 000
  • India (2001) >>> 172 >>> 41 132

Source: TNO Statistical Report on Media and Content Industries, based on Eurostat, Unido.

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