Initial data on the performance of a number of markets in 2020 has been published in January. Often incomplete it starts giving a picture of how the Covid Pandemic affected publishing in some markets.
El Economista reports that the Mexican market, based on points of sale data, finally closed with a deficit of -20% in value, according to Nielsen; but low sales to government, schools and private companies dragged the industry into a contraction of up to -30 percent.
Turnover in 2020 across the central sales channels (retail bookstores, ecommerce incl. Amazon, railway station bookstores, department stores, electrical goods stores and drugstores) was 2.3 percent below the previous year's figure. The business from physical bookstores, which was particularly affected by the Corona measures, closed the year with a minus of 8.7 percent. Children's and Young Adults' books were the only product group to achieve a significant growth of 4.7 per cent across all sales channels compared to the previous year. The biggest decline was in travel literature at 26.1 per cent.
Reacting to the figures, Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, Chairwoman of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers & Booksellers Association) said: The COVID year 2020 has clearly hit the book industry hard. It is true that books have played a prominent role for people during the crisis: enthusiasm for reading has been high and demand for books was strong for most of the year. However, the shutdown in December threw a spanner in the works for the industry. The renewed store closures in the middle of the Christmas business put an end to the race to make up for the losses caused by the shutdown in the spring; a race which the book industry had almost won.
Books and Publishing reported on Nielsen data that sales of books in Australia grew 7.8% in 2020, according to data from Nielsen BookScan, with total sales by value coming in at AUS $1.25 billion for the year.
Publishing Perspectives reported on figures from OpenBook showing 5.08% drop in sales revenue in 2020 with physical bookstore revenues dropping 33.8% against an 7.27% increase in online bookstore revenues.
Nielsen estimates reported by The Guardian and The Bookseller suggest that the volume of print books sold in the UK last year grew by 5.2% (to 202m books) compared with 2019 and was worth £1.76bn, up 5.5% on 2019.
Publishing Perspectives reported on NPD group data that showed that print book sales in the US rose 8.2 percent in 2020 reaching 751 million units. The Association of American Publishers own statshot covering the year to November suggested year-to-date sales in all categories increased 0.8% compared to the first eleven months of 2019, representing a total of $13.6 billion. The most notable drop was for K-12 instruction materials which saw a 20% drop.
Provisional figures from France (excluding digital sales) suggest a drop in value of 2% and volume of 3%. While comic books performed better, travel books, unsurprisingly, suffered badly.