By Dennis Abrams
Writing for The Bookseller, Joshua Farrington reported on new figures from the International Publishing Association (IPA) which show that “the UK publishing market led the world in terms of the number of new titles published relative to population size in 2013, as well as in 2013 export revenue.”
The annual report shows that UK publishers “released 2,875 new titles per million inhabitants, more than 1,000 titles ahead of the nearest nation, Taiwan.” (In absolute figures, the UK published 184,000 new titles and re-editions in 2013, the highest in Europe – only the U.S. and China published more, “with 304,912 and 444,000 titles respectively.”)
UK publishers also showed financial strength as well, with a 2013 net revenue of £4.7 billion, joining the United States and Germany as markets which did not show a decline, as opposed to France (-3%), Italy (-6%), and Spain (-10%). (Other markets, especially Asian, saw growth with South Korea up 2%, China up 9% and Indonesia up 10%, along with New Zealand (up 6%), Mexico (up 3%) and Brazil (up 8%).
Farrington also reported that: “The UK also has the largest exports market, despite a decline since the previous year of 4%. Export revenues for UK publishing were €1.5 billion, ahead of the US at €1 billion (a rise of 7.2%) and Spain at €331 million (a fall of 5%).”
The article cited Richard Mollet, chief executive of the Publishers Association (PA), who said: “There are a number of factors behind this world-leading performance. As well as the advantage of the English language, British creativity, innovation and historic strength in publishing all play their part. British publishing is a central part of the success story of our creative industries and this performance shows that the UK’s legal and commercial environment – notably our copyright laws – continue to be the underpinning to strong economic performance.”
IPA president Youngsuk Chi was also cited, who said in the report that in an economy industry being changed by digital progression, it was vital for publishers to emphasize their value. He said: “Digital migration has been the trend of the decade, but it has accelerated over this past year. Issues like the Amazon dispute over e-book prices, the HathiTrust v. Authors Guild copyright case, and the increasing number of OA initiatives around the world are posing new questions for publishers in the digital age. During this time of immense change, our role as publishers remains ever important, but increasingly difficult to understand. It is therefore our responsibility to communicate the value of publishers to society.”
Farrington also quoted Secretary general Jens Bammel, who commented in the report on the ongoing conversation about Amazon’s impact on publishing. He said: “It is the role of publishers associations to stand up for our ideal of an open, competitive, online book selling environment; where authors can publish themselves or partner with the publisher best suited to develop and market them, where consumers have a choice between different retail channels and even ways of consuming content, and where publishers can be assured that the value they add will be compensated by the consumers who benefit from it. The book industry is right to be wary of Amazon… But we should also be inspired by Amazon.”
Read the report in its entirety here (PDF).