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EU book market

In Europe, publishers are part of a highly competitive media market. The publishing sector deals mostly with newspapers, magazines, books and directories.
In 2010, the EU publishing sector was composed of around 90 000 enterprises, collectively employing 900 000 persons and generating an estimated value added of €60 billion. Large enterprises (employing 250 or more) made up almost half (49.3%) of the sector.

Share of the six leading EU markets in book publishing (Share of the six leading EU markets in book publishing, 2007)

Within the sector, in 2013, book publishing accounted for annual turnover of over €22 billion, provided 560 000 new titles, and employed 130 000 people. Across the entire book value chain – authors, booksellers, printers and designers – employment amounted to half a million.

In spite of the importance of a few EU book publishers, the fragmentation of the EU market, mainly along linguistic lines – but also in terms of structure, size and the role of the different players – is an inherent feature. Germany is the leading EU book publisher and took over this position from the UK in 2006 (see Figure 2). Much has been written about the falling figures in book publishing in the face of increasingly digitised media. However, in 2010, almost three in ten enterprises within the EU-27 publishing sector were dedicated to book publishing. The EU e-book market took off only in recent years, and in 2014 still represented only 1.6% of the total book market in the main EU markets (Table 2).

Table 2 – E-book markets in the EU-5, 2008-2014 (billion euros)

Year — Print — E-book

2008 — 17.6 — 0.1
2009 — 17.5 — 0.2
2010 — 17.2 — 0.4
2011 — 16.9 — 0.6
2012 — 16.5 — 1
2013 — 16.2 — 1.3
2014 — 16   — 1.6

Data source: European Commission, Analysis of the media and content industries: The publishing industry, 2012.

Source: Ivana Katsarova, E-Books: Evolving markets and new challenges, European Parliamentary Research Service, Briefing February 2016. © European Union, 2016.

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