By Siobhan O’Leary
July was another good month for the German book trade, with sales climbing 4% for book retailers, department stores, and online retailers, according to the August Branchen-Monitor BUCH newsletter, issued monthly by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers and Booksellers Association). This brought overall sales for the first seven months of 2009 up 2.5% over the same period last year. Children’s and YA books led the way with an 18.1% increase (in large part due to Stephanie Meyer). Non-fiction was up by 4.6% with fiction right behind at 4.5%. When broken down by format, paperbacks came out on top, with an 11% increase in sales, and audiobooks coming in a not-too-distant second (+9.2%). Hardcovers saw little change with sales up just 0.6%.
German publishers are increasingly looking to other parts of the world to round out their lists. As the Frankfurt Book Fair’s August newsletter reports, the number of translations into German increased by nearly 20% to 7,342 titles in 2008. Two-thirds of those were from English. Quoting the latest industry statistics from the “Buch und Buchhandel in Zahlen” report of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, the newsletter adds that German publishers sold 7,605 licenses in the past year, 17.6% fewer than in 2007. One high point is the sales of licenses to China, which have doubled in the past year. Of course, that’s no surprise when one takes into account the fact that China will be the Guest of Honour at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair.