By Ingrid SüßmannAfter introducing you to the German book market statistics for 2015, it’s time to take a closer look at last year’s situation on the book licensing market.
These numbers were published at the German Publishers and Booksellers Association annual press conference, and they shed light on the current rights and licensing situation in Germany. (You can see all the statistics, in German, in this PDF.) The following text is translated from German.
German Rights Sales Increase, Trade with China Grows
After a successful 2014, 2015 saw another increase in numbers of licenses sold: 7,521 licenses in total were sold abroad from Germany (2014: 6,443). This adds up to an increase of 16.7 percent compared to the previous year.
Traditionally, children’s books are the most important category, making up 35.6 percent of the licensing market, which translates to a total of 2,677 licenses sold. Fiction comes in second with 16.4 percent and 1,236 licenses sold. After 4 years of a continuous downward spiral, the licensing market has managed to pick up momentum again.
This is mainly due to the ongoing positive trading relationships with the Chinese-speaking market: 1,514 titles were sold for translation in 2015 (2014: 983 licenses), making up 15.3 percent of the license market. The numbers of licenses sold to the English-speaking world also rose notably from 450 licenses in 2014 to 574 licenses in 2015, accounting for 7 percent. The Spanish-speaking market comes in third with a small increase: 439 licenses in 2015 compared to 426 licenses in 2014, which accumulates to 6.6 percent market share. Other languages German books will be translated into are French (5.7 percent), Russian (5.3 percent), Polish (5.0 percent), Italian (4.5 percent), Korean (4.3 percent), Czech (4.3 percent) and Turkish (4.1 percent).
German Publishers More Cautious in Rights Acquisitions
While 2015 was a good year for translations from German, translations into German were a completely different story. The number of translations for first editions continued to fall: 2014 saw 9,962 translated titles; 2015 only came in with 9,454 titles. This decline was most obvious with fiction, where only 5,400 titles were translations from abroad (2014: 5,847). After several years of high translation numbers, 2015 continued on the declining slope visible since 2013.
When it comes to languages translated into German, English is by far the most important, making up 65.5 percent of the pie. Other important languages are French (10.1 percent) and Japanese (2.8 percent). All other languages are Indo-European languages: Swedish (2.8 percent), Italian (2.8 percent), Dutch (1.6 percent), Spanish (1.4 percent), Danish (1.0 percent), Norwegian (0.9 percent), Russian (0.8 percent) and Finnish (0.8 percent).