The Federation of European Publishers (FEP) released its latest statistical report, which covers 2016 and aggregates data from 29 national associations across Europe. The report indicates that total annual sales for reporting members was approximately €22.3 billion ($28.21 billion), the same level it was at in 2015. The report also indicated that sales of e-books now represent 6% of overall sales, though growth in e-book sales had stagnated for a second year in a row.
When the FEP accounted for total income, which includes rights sales, books to film adaptations, as well as the figure for wholesale sales to booksellers, they estimated the total market value as €36 billion to €38 billion ($44.1 billion to $46 billion). Local and domestic sales represented 77.9% of all sales for reporting members, with exports representing 22.1%.
"The general feeling is that the worst is behind," said the FEP's deputy director and economist Enrico Turrin, referring to years of falling sales resulting from the 2008 financial crash and introduction of ebooks. "For example, the big five markets in the EU – Germany, UK, France, Spain and Italy – all reported an increase in publishers’ turnover in 2016." The number was mitigated, and appears unchanged, due to the loss in value of the British pound following the Brexit vote.
Still, Turrin remains cautious. "The broader, long-term trends maintain a level of uncertainty, he said.
In all, some 590,000 new titles were published in 2016, up from 575,000 in 2015. European publishers also have a backlist of approximately 22.5 million titles, of which some 4 million were digital-only publications.
The largest markets in terms of revenue and new title production in 2016 were Germany, the U.K., France, Spain and Italy. In all, 125,000 people are employed in publishing in the region. When that number is expanded to include designers, authors, printers, and freelancers, it balloons to as many as half a million.