End of Year Sales Bode Well for German E-book Market

In Europe by Siobhan O'Leary

By Siobhan O’Leary

German book chain Thalia reported its highest sales to date for its Oyo Reader in December, according to buchreport. The device — which reached stores in November — was one of Thalia’s top 5 bestselling products and, perhaps surprisingly, most of them were sold in-store rather than online. Thalia witnessed a corresponding increase in e-book sales, with figures jumping 200% over the same period in 2009.

Germans are finally buying e-books, prompted by the introduction of new devices at some of the country’s largest booksellers this past holiday season.

Competitors experienced similar levels of success. Without stating specific figures, Weltbild CEO Klaus Driever told buchreport that the company sold through its fourth batch of the e-reader Aluratek Libre before Christmas. E-book sales also increased significantly for Libri, aided by the fact that the wholesaler added 11,000 new titles to its e-book program in the second half of 2010.

Though German e-book sales are still negligible when compared to print sales, they more than quadrupled on weltbild-ebooks.de compared to the previous year, with fiction titles in particular demand.

Despite a weaker December (-5%), the German publishing industry as a whole saw a slight increase in sales of 0.4% over 2009, according to Branchen-Monitor Buch, taking into account brick and mortar book retailers, department stores and online sales.

Additional sources: Borsenblatt

DISCUSS: Which E-readers Might Have the Second Mover Advantage?

About the Author

Siobhan O'Leary

Siobhan O’Leary is a literary agent, translator and writer based in Berlin. She previously worked in the Foreign Rights department of the Crown Publishing Group (Random House) and at the publishing consulting firm Market Partners International.