By Ingrid Süßmann
After the crucial holiday book sales had a slow start in Germany this year, things gained momentum in the weeks to follow. In the middle of December, booksellers reported that shoppers were still relaxed, taking their time when browsing for book presents and enjoying recommendations from the staff.
Certainly, one reason for this was the extra shopping day in the week leading up to Christmas, giving shoppers 3.5 days until the afternoon of December 24 to get the last (book) presents sorted out. Traditionally, the week leading up to Christmas is when most of the holiday book sales happen — and having a day extra day never hurts.
And this extra day was desperately needed. Buchreport reported 2015 sales were 7.8% lower than in 2014 during calendar weeks 48-51. This figured is based on an analysis from Media Control, which polled 3,700 bookstores all over Germany.
Although the bookselling business boomed on the last days before Christmas, it is still possible that 2015 sales were down from the 2014 numbers. A poll of 50 bookstores conducted by the Börsenblatt suggests that brick-and-mortar bookstores ended the Christmas season with a respectable sales increase of 1.6% compared to last year. However, given the small number of the survey group, it’s impossible to give a final verdict before the official sales statistics for December 2015 are published.
Looking back at the slow start to the holiday book season in Germany, no matter what the final outcome might be, booksellers were able to rally and finish strong for the year.
If you want to know what German readers were buying this year (not only as Christmas presents), make sure to check out our comprehensive list of “Germany’s Bestselling Novels of 2015.”