Four million books sold more in a year. And a 5.5% increase in turnover, up to 2,718 million euros. The Federation of Publishers Guilds of Spain has presented with enormous optimism the book sales data for 2022, which show that the increase in reading produced by the pandemic confinement has not been a flash in the pan. Its president, Daniel Fernández, editor of Edhasa, has indicated that last year’s data “adds to a decade of recovery and growth after the great crisis of 2008.” A year in which the turnover of Spanish publishers was 3,185 million euros, a figure that has not yet been recovered 15 years later and that shows the depth of the abyss into which the country peered.
Sales plummeted until 2013, when they stood at 2,181 million, a third less, and since then growth has been continuous. “It was accentuated at the time of the pandemic. One of the few positive consequences of the pandemic was the reunion of part of Spanish society with books,” Fernández pointed out, noting that the latest increases “have narrowed the gap that separated us from the countries with the most readers around us” despite the fact that, he acknowledges, there is enormous reading inequality in our society: “There is a third of citizens who read at least ten books a year, and another third who never set foot in a library, a theater, a museum or a gallery of books. art and who also seem immune to reading, except when for some professional reason they have to deal with a book”.
Since 2019, books for children and young people have skyrocketed by 50%, going from 312 to 469 million in billing
In the last five years, accumulated sales growth has been 15% and compared to the pre-pandemic situation, sales are already 11% higher. Of course, there have been items that have boosted sales more than others: “Children’s and young people’s literature has grown by 8.6%, which represents good news about good news, because they are children or adolescents who, if they read in childhood and adolescence, have many possibilities of being adult readers and the reading rate will continue to improve.” Since 2019, books for children and young people have skyrocketed by 50%, going from 312 to 469 million in billing.
“In a country with low demographic growth rates, this data draws attention in a hopeful way”, pointed out Fernández, who stressed that “the habit by parents of reading to their children has been incorporated, something that was part of a restricted social group 25 years ago and is now a widespread family activity. Most parents are aware that reading is important for the development of children”.
The digital book represents only 5.1% of the market, and the audiobook barely 0.1%
Adult fiction has also grown strongly, 8.5%, to 595 million, which for the president of the Federation of Guilds shows that “perhaps people need to be distracted from reality” and that in any case “it is good news in the midst of the great offer of series and platforms”.
In total, there have been 83,091 titles published during 2022, of which 57,125 are on paper and 25,966 on digital, despite which sales of physical books have been 2,569 million, with an increase of 5.6%, while digital books represent only 5.1% of the market: they have sold 139 million and have experienced a smaller increase than paper, of 3.3%. “Digital is still 5% of the market, affected by what we wrongly call piracy, which is content theft. Groups that shared books on Facebook were eliminated, but WhatsApp, which is owned by the same owner, is not being achieved,” Fernández pointed out. In last place is the audiobook, which barely represents 3.43 million in sales, although its growth has been 8.1%.
Despite the storm clouds that were announced for bookstores and bookstore chains, they invoice 53.9% of the total
Among the rain of data from the report by the Federation of Publishers Guilds is that 75.9% of the 83,091 books published in 2022 were in Spanish, 14% in Catalan, 2.3% in Basque and 2.2% in Galician. The Catalan publishers’ union accounted for 53% of total turnover and Madrid’s for 40.7%. Far behind, that of Euskadi accounted for 2.6% and that of Andalusia 1.5%.
Despite the dark clouds that were announced for bookstores, they are today the main sales channel, billing 35.2% of the total. Large bookstore chains invoice an additional 18.7%, hypermarkets 8.6%, kiosks and credit sales 2.9% each, and the Internet 2.1% for paper books plus 5.1% for electronic books.
Exports from the Spanish publishing sector have grown to 403 million euros, 1% from the publishing sector and 24.33% from the graphic sector, leaving a positive trade balance for Spain of 281.68 million euros. “This shows that the great Spanish cultural industry is the book industry at a great distance from the others, we are an industry that contributes net to the State coffers and with a positive balance for exports, something that does not happen in general with the Spanish cultural industries”, stressed Antonio María Ávila, executive director of the Federation of Guilds. Even so, the market is recovering very slowly from the slump in exports caused by the pandemic: in 2019, 529 million were invoiced.