Report Confirms Nightmare Year for Spanish Publishers, Bankruptcies Loom

In Spanish World Book News by Julieta Lionetti

By Julieta Lionetti

Last Tuesday, the overdue annual report (PDF) of the Spanish Publishers Guild (FGEE) was released, confirming a trend already pointed out by the INE (National Institue of Statistics): the Spanish book industry is in serious trouble.

Since the subprime crisis started in 2008, the industry has shrunk 18% and, according to the FGEE’s predictions, it can expect to drop another 10% by December 2012. The negative growth affects trade books in particular, both fiction and non-fiction, while text books and children books have a more steady performance. In total, the number of copies sold fell by 20.3% in 2011.

While exports (+5.38%) and digital (+3%) had a positive outcome, together they can’t compensate for the losses. Since 2009, digital titles published saw a 577% growth, while their turnover only increased 41 points, representing barely 2.8% of the total industry  turnover. The annus horribilis also brought a 70% drop in sales in the profitable segment of SMT and legal e-books.

Industry sources fear that many publishers — small, medium and large — will face bankruptcy during the third and forth quarters. In this grim scenario, many see Latin America as the perennial El Dorado. Spanish subsidiaries on the continent have a dominant position in the textbook segment, where they control 60% of the market. A more aggressive export policy might inflame already existing tensions in Latin America.

About the Author

Julieta Lionetti

Julieta Lionetti lives in Buenos Aires. She has over 20 years experience in the publishing industry. She works in Spanish, Catalan, French, English and Italian. She lived in France, Sweden and Spain.