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Book market results 2022: Consumer spending reluctance is also evident in the book market

Decline in turnover of 2.1 per cent across central sales channels compared to 2021 / Physical bookstore business picks up again in 2022 after months of store closures in past year
Erstellt am 05.01.2023

The general downturn in consumption also made its mark on the book market in 2022. Turnover across the central sales channels (retail bookstores, ecommerce incl. Amazon, railway station bookstores, department stores, electrical goods stores and drugstores) was 2.1 per cent below that of the strong previous year (2021: +3.5 per cent compared to 2020). The number of books sold declined by 3.0 per cent in the same period. Physical bookstores, which continued to suffer from months of store closures due to lockdowns in 2021, were not able to reach their pre-pandemic level yet, but regained sales: Local bookstores ended 2022 with a 4.8 per cent increase in turnover compared to 2021. This is according to the market data report “Branchen-Monitor BUCH”, which was published today.

"2022 was a challenging year for the book market. Bookstores and publishers mastered the Covid pandemic with tremendous dedication, innovative drive and due to their ability to stay in close contact with their customers. However, this period has posed a major economic challenge to businesses. The sector is now facing new hurdles due to procurement bottlenecks, rising production and energy costs and a historic downturn in consumer spending. General inflation means that even book customers are thinking twice about every euro they spend. In addition, there is a lack of footfall in the city centres. Publishers and bookstores deserve great credit for being resilient despite these developments and for continuing their unabated commitment to books and cultural diversity. And so, we will continue to tackle the new year with great determination and self-confidence, despite the challenges we are facing.”, says Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, Chairwoman of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers & Booksellers Association).

In line with the market as a whole, most product groups also recorded declining sales compared to the previous year: for example, companions with 6.8 per cent and non-fiction with 8.7 per cent. Only two product groups were able to increase sales: Fiction increased its sales by 4.3 per cent and travel books, which had suffered greatly from the pandemic, gained 13.4 per cent. Books for children and young adults did not quite reach the previous year's result with a decline of 3.3 per cent. However, sales of books for this young target group were still significantly above the pre-pandemic level due to high increases in previous years.

According to Media Control, the best-selling novel in 2022 (fiction hardcover) was “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus, followed by “Mimik” by Sebastian Fitzek in second place and by “Zur See” by Dörte Hansen in third place. Among the non-fiction bestseller titles (hardcover), "Du darfst nicht alles glauben, was du denkst" by Kurt Krömer ranked first, Marietta Slomka’s "Nachts im Kanzleramt " took second place and "Die vierte Gewalt" by Richard David Precht and Harald Welzer reached third place.

The data published for the sales channels of the retail bookstores, ecommerce incl. Amazon, railway station bookstores, department stores as well as electrical goods stores and drugstores offer an initial trend indication for the development of the book market in 2022. Complete book market figures, which include all other sales channels (direct from publishers, mail order book trade, other sales outlets, book clubs) as well as the figures for books sold with payment by invoice, will be available in summer 2023. 

The “Branchen-Monitor BUCH” is published monthly by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels. It is based on data from the Media Control retail panel.


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