By Roger Tagholm
Penguin worldwide CEO John Makinson and Hachette Livre CEO Arnaud Nourry both sounded notes of optimism for the future yesterday, speaking at the launch of Livres Hebdo’s 5th Global Ranking of publishers, which saw Penguin owner Pearson retaining its number one position, and Hachette at number six.
Commenting on the future of the book market, Makinson said: “It all depends on how you define a book. Yes, the physical book market is declining, but if you take consumption of our intellectual property, of what we produce as a whole, then it isn’t decreasing at all. But we will have to adapt—to introduce social media elements, gaming elements—and that is what we are doing.”
Nourry urged people to “look further down the road. We are living in tough times economically, but it is just a cycle. The French market was flat at the end of August, but it’s not declining. Retailers are hurt as the acceleration to digital takes place, but people still want to read.”
For Yu Chunchi, vice-president of China Education Publishing, the country’s newly-formed market leader in educational publishing, the challenge was to capture young people’s attention—a problem not unique to his part of the world. “There is an increasingly diverse media out there—things like Angry Birds.”
The survey, which covers publishers with turnovers in excess of €150m, has new entrants from both China and Brazil this year, marking the growing importance of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries. The report’s author, Rudiger Wischenbart, also had an optimistic note: “The situation in trade publishing is still difficult, but the post-2008 losses have now been recuperated. There is also growth in STM and the educational sector.”
(In photo, from left to right: Yu Chunchi, vice-president of China Education Publishing, Hachette Livre CEO Arnaud Nourry, and Penguin worldwide CEO John Makinson)