In Germany: Report Finds Ebook Sales Rising, Revenue Down, in 2016

In News by Ingrid Süßmann1 Comment

In a consistent German book market, ebook sales rise by volume, but lower prices are driving down revenue from digital products.

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By Ingrid Süßmann

The latest Ebook Quarterly Report from the German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein des deutschen Buchhandels) has just been released. For the first three quarters of 2016, it shows, once again, lower revenue from ebook sales despite growth in sales volume.

Infographic from the German Publishers and Booksellers Association showing ebook sales in the first three quarters of 2016, as compared with 2015. Click to see full-sized image

Infographic from the German Publishers and Booksellers Association showing ebook sales in the first three quarters of 2016, as compared with 2015. Click to see full-sized image

Germany’s ebook market in 2016 can be described in one word: constant. Each of the ebook quarterly reports in 2016 shows the same finding: while sales volume of ebooks increases, revenue goes down.

One reason for this trend is a decrease in ebook prices. The average price of an ebook in Germany is 6.70 euros (7.10 US dollars). Though not specifically stated in the report, this drop in price could have to do with a couple factors: 1) the ever-growing number of low-priced, self-published titles on the market; and 2) readers are less willing to pay higher prices for ebooks, so publishers are responding with lower prices.

The average price of an ebook in Germany is €6.70 (US$7.10). Although not specifically stated in the report, this drop in price could have to do with a couple factors:

  • The ever-growing number of low-priced, self-published titles on the market; and
  • Readers are less willing to pay higher prices for ebooks, so publishers are responding with lower prices.

Over the first three quarters of 2016, ebook sales volume went up 1.7 percent, yet revenue from ebook sales increased by just 0.1 percent. These numbers are for trade titles only, and don’t take into account textbooks or academic titles. Overall, 5.2 percent of revenue in the German book market comes from digital products. However, this is down slightly from the same period in 2015 (5.2 percent).

The good news: ebook buyers are repeat customers. If readers have bought ebooks before, they’re much more likely to buy them again. Ebook consumers bought an average of 6.1 ebooks in 2016, 1.8 percent more than in 2015. The number of digital readers in general has stayed the same at some 3.3 million.

Every three months, the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, in cooperation with GfK Entertainment, releases its Ebook Quarterly Report to shed light on the state of the German ebook market. The findings in these reports are representative projections based on a study by the GfK (Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung) in which 25,000 people are polled, representing the German residential population over the age of 10.


Further information on the state of the German Ebook Market can be found in these articles:

About the Author

Ingrid Süßmann

Ingrid Süßmann is an IT Project Manager at Droemer Knaur in Munich, Germany. She previously worked as Author Relations Manager for neobooks, and has held various positions at Random House Germany and Carlsen Verlag. In addition to her work in book publishing, Ingrid is also a certified beekeeper and fan of baby donkeys.

Comments

  1. Thank you! I was considering selling the e rights to my German edition, which publisher would you suggest? Thank you, Kind Regards,
    Patricia Blok

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