US Export of English-language Print and Ebooks Proliferating

In News by Edward Nawotka

By Publishing Perspectives

two books black and whiteAmerican publishers are selling more and more print and ebooks overseas, according to the second annual Association of American Publishers (AAP) Export Sales Report. The report is extrapolated from BookStats data and based on 2012 sales data. The UK and Germany were the top markets for print books, while continental Europe led the UK in consumption of ebooks (which makes sense, since the UK has an indigenous English-language ebook market of its own).

Among this year’s highlights, offered by the AAP in it’s press release:

• Total overall 2012 net revenue from non-US markets reported by publishers is $833.389 million, increasing +7.2% vs 2011. This represents 135,526 million units, a gain of +2.4% vs last year. Publishers’ net revenue from export of eBooks increased by +63% and print books by +1.3% over the same period.

• For 2012, the top territories generating revenue from print were Asia, Europe, the United Kingdom and Ireland. The top countries contributing to print sales (in ranking order) were the UK, Germany, Australia, South Korea, the Philippines and Singapore. The countries with the greatest year-to-year increases in print revenue were the Philippines, the UK, France, Colombia and the United Arab Emirates.

• For ebook revenue, the revenue-generating territories were led by Europe, followed by the UK and then closely by the territory including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India. The top countries contributing to ebook sales were the UK, Australia, Germany, France, Norway and Switzerland. Germany showed the greatest year-on-year revenue gains while New Zealand, Spain, Italy, South Africa and Brazil also contributed significant ebook revenue gains.

• While all genres were strong, US publishers’ titles for children and youth, particularly Young Adult Fiction, showed powerful growth in nearly every international market and especially in Asia. The numbers were driven by contemporary authors and titles as well as perennial classics, both of which have strong global footholds. YA Fiction sales were particularly strong in print paperback editions.

• Asia is a thriving market for US publishers for several reasons. English-language literacy, already important in a number of Asian countries, is rapidly growing among populations in more countries including China, Malaysia and Indonesia. Also, the Asian market places strong emphasis on education and English Language Teaching (ELT), and books from US Children’s/Young Adult publishers are considered critical to longterm education investments. US books about business, management, technology and finance do very well in Asia for similar reasons: these reflect regional aspirations for advancement and the focus on a world economy with English as a common language.

• Online retail as a sales distribution channel increased greatly over the past year. Countries showing particular growth include Italy, Spain, Japan, France, China, Germany and Brazil. These gains were driven by established retailers opening new markets as well as new online retail partners emerging in some countries.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.