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German book sales flat amid concerns for bricks-and-mortar shops

German book sales were up 0.7% year-on-year by value in the first half of 2022, reports the Bookseller.

The data, from trade association Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, shows sales from the first half of the year are 3% behind 2019—the last pre-pandemic year. There is also growing concern about bricks-and-mortar bookshops, which suffered heavily during the pandemic. Bookshop sales were down 3.1% from the beginning of January to the end of June, and, compared to the first half of 2019, are down 11.1%.

The ‘subdued’ mood in the book industry has led trade officials to ask the government for support, including revitalisation of city centres and the reduction of VAT on books from 7% to 0%.

‘If the book industry is to continue fulfilling its important cultural and social role in society, the government must act quickly,’ said Börsenverein managing director Peter Kraus vom Kleff. ‘As cultural centres and “third places” par excellence, bookstores can play an important role in revitalising city centres.’

Another concerning statistic for the German industry is the falling number of book buyers, with around 27 million Germans buying books last year, 5.1% fewer than in 2019. While buyers in the 10–19-year-old age bracket grew 27% from 2019 to 2021, research from sales data company Media Control found English-language title sales were up over 50% in the first half of 2022, mainly driven by teen romance and fiction.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, first-half book sales in France and the US were both down 6% on 2021, but remain 10% and 15% higher respectively than the same period in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.


Category: International news