European book industry strives for recovery (International Perspective)

Core reading

Under the impact of the epidemic, many physical bookstores in Europe are facing difficulties such as a sharp decline in turnover and the imminent rupture of capital chain. In this regard, multinational entity bookstores actively launched self-help and explored compound development, and the performance of some entity bookstores began to recover.

Book sales in France have returned to 96.7% before the outbreak in 2020, better than the 15% to 25% drop previously expected, according to a recent announcement by the French Bookstore trade union. More than 50 new physical bookstores opened in the UK and Ireland last year, and the number of independent bookstores in the UK will reach its peak in recent years in 2020, according to data released recently by the British Booksellers Association. In addition, in Germany and Austria, book sales have returned to 97.7% and 95.6% respectively in 2020. The analysis shows that the physical bookstores accelerate the “network touch” and transformation, and the online book sales grow against the trend, which promotes the recovery of the book industry as a whole.

Book sales accelerate to online

Statistics from the European Federation of publishers show that online book sales soared during the epidemic prevention and control period. In April last year, the book sales of many e-commerce platforms in France increased by 1-2 times over the same period of last year. For the first time, the online book sales of Italy exceeded the sales of physical bookstores in the same period. The sales of wh Smith bookstores in Britain decreased by 85% over the same period of last year, but the online sales increased by 400%.

According to an article published on the French book information and review website “Book News”, physical bookstores are highly dependent on space, and pay attention to book selection and reading experience in the store. However, under the influence of the epidemic, the passenger flow has decreased significantly, and even closed down. More and more consumers tend to buy books online.

Last summer, driven by the “unsealing” policy of European countries, the sales of physical bookstores showed signs of recovery. According to the data of the German Book Industry Association, with the reopening of bookstores last year, the sales of bookstores gradually recovered, especially the sales of children’s books increased by 3.6% in the first six months of last year. According to the French Ministry of culture, in the first week after the closure of the French city in May last year, people actively went to bookstores to buy books. Compared with the previous week, the turnover of French bookstores increased by 233%. From June to July, the turnover continued to grow, with a year-on-year growth of 22% and 13% respectively. During the first “closure” in the UK, Shuishi bookstore, the largest chain bookstore in the UK, provided online book purchasing and distribution services for the public. In the first week after the closure, its online sales increased by 400% year on year.


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