Romania’s Online, English Book Sales on the Rise

In Europe by Jaroslaw Adamowski

Penguin's little black classic's series in English as featured on Okian.ro's website.

Penguin’s little black classic’s series in English as featured on Okian.ro’s website.

In Romania, online sales now account for 20% of the $110 million book market, with interest in ebooks and English-language titles also on the rise.

By Jaroslaw Adamowski

As a sign of the rapid growth experienced by Romania’s online retail market last year, the country’s online book sales hit 20% of the total book market, which is estimated to be worth some US$110 million per year, according to data obtained by local financial daily Ziarul Financiar.

Okian.roTudor Benga, the chief executive of the country’s leading online book retailer, Okian.ro, said that the demand for books in Romania has been increasing as a result of the improving economic situation. In 2014, Okian.ro sold more than 40,000 books online, generating total revenue of some 1.3 million lei (US$330,000) — a 30% increase over 2013, according to data from the online retailer. Launched in 2007 and based in the country’s capital Bucharest, Okian.ro says it has a product portfolio of more than one million books and ebooks of various genres in English and Romanian. Some of the most popular genres sold by Okian.ro include business, engineering, medical science and IT.

As of 2009, a scientific paper published in the Studia Universitatis journal of local Babeș-Bolyai University indicated that scientific and technical books related to “economy, business and judicial environment” were continuing to gain popularity in the local book market, as “[p]eople are preoccupied by the economic and social environment; for this reason they buy books that help them better understand the financial-economical and social transformations that are occurring in our country.”

Benga added that there is also a rising demand for English-language books in the Romanian market, as there are more readers who buy books for professional development. “Currently, the online segment represents between 20% and 25% of the market and its share is further growing,” the chief executive said. In addition, the rise in online sales is being mirrored in the rise of ebook sales.

About the Author

Jaroslaw Adamowski

Jaroslaw Adamowski is a freelance writer who divides his time between Warsaw and Istanbul. He has written for the Jerusalem Post, Transitions Online, the Prague Post and Hürriyet Daily News