Book sales in the U.K. rose 3%% last year, according to Nielsen BookScan, with more than 212 million print books sold, accounting for total sales of £1.82 billion, the highest figure ever recorded by BookScan.
In France, Vincent Montagne, president of the French Publishers Association (Syndicat National de l’Edition, SNE) said that revenue from sales was up 20% over 2020 and 19% from 2019 -- though specific sales figures were not offered. The French Booksellers Association (Syndicat de la Librairie Française, SLF) confirmed these numbers, stating that sales at member stores were up 20.4% in 2021, compared to 2020, and by 24.3% compared to 2019. Anne Martell, SLF president and co-director at the Martelle family bookshop in the northern city of Amiens, reported the news to The Bookseller magazine.
French booksellers were assisted in 2021 by several programs implemented by the French government. This includes a campaign in support of reading and the creation of the Culture Pass, which gave 18-year-olds across the country €300 to spend on cultural products, including books – provided they are not purchased online. This resulted in the sale of some 426,000 books at nearly 3,000 participating bookstores. The pass is being extended to all 15-17 year-olds for 2022, which may give another boost to the industry.
The French government is currently debating the merits of Vivendi’s proposed acquisition of Lagardère, which would see the merger of the two largest publishers in France: Vivendi’s Editis and Lagardère’s Hachette. On January 7, the SNE issued a press release signed by its 720 members calling for the government to guarantee diversity in publishing, as well as fair access to markets and materials to prevent “the risk of abuse.” Editis and Hachette did not sign the letter.
German publishers saw sales across Germany, Austria and Switzerland rise approximately 3% overall in 2021 compared to 2020, and 1% when compared with 2019, according to Media Control’s 2021 market report. Much of this was the result of modest increase in the number of books sold plus higher prices. Book sales at bricks-and-mortar stores were hit by lockdowns and fell 11% compared with those from the pre-pandemic year of 2019.