French publishing sales were down in 2017, falling 1.6% compared to 2016. Revenue declined from €2.84 billion ($3.7 billion) in 2016 to € 2.79 billion ($3.6 billion) in 2017, according to a report from the French Publishers Association (Syndicat National de l’Edition, SNE) released at the SNE's annual meeting on June 28. Overall, the number of copies sold declined 1.1% from 434.5 million units in 2016 to 430 million last year.
Commenting on the figures in a press release, the SNE noted that the small decline was "predictable," as sales in 2016 were especially strong resulting from changes in the national school curriculum that had prompted schools to buy additional books.
Several areas showed strong growth last year, including comic books, which had a sales hike of 13%, while sales of health /well-being books were up 9% compared to 2016.
Among the three largest sectors, sales of general literature, which accounts for €602 million ($700 million) and 22% of the market, were up 2.7% for the period, while sales of children's books, valued at €340.4 million ($395 million) and representing 12.8% of the market, were down 6.6%.
Foreign rights sales accounted for €137.9 million ($160 million) of publishers' net revenue. The total number of deals was 15,460, a rise of some 9% over 2016, and rights sales accounted for 7%, of publishers’ net revenues last year. China led all buyers, particularly when it came to children's books, followed by buyers from Spanish-speaking countries and Italy.
Finally, e-book sales, fueled by growth in professional and academic publishing, grew 9.8% for the year and the format now represents 7.6% of publishers' book sales.