By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Levi: Rising Paper Prices May Pose ProblemsWith an accomplished statistical research unit built into its structure, the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE) under Ricardo Franco Levi‘s direction is a reliable leader in forecasts near the end of each year.
This week, the Italian industry is in the run-up to its annual Più libri più liberi, the national fair for small and medium publishing companies. The show runs Saturday through Wednesday, December 4 through 8, at Rome’s convention center, La Nuvola (The Cloud). Today (December 2), AIE’s research team presented the figures we have here during a preview of the fair.
These observations and projections are generated using NielsenIQ data. The top-line conclusion is that Italy’s trade publishing sector is being forecast to close 2021 up between 12.6 and 16.3 percent over the first coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic year, 2020.
“The data presented today,” according to AIE’s president Ricardo Franco Levi, “bears witness to the energy of Italian publishing, supported by investments made by publishers and supported over the course of the last two years by long-sighted public intervention policies.”
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, Levi’s reference is to the remarkably effective partnership he has formed with the culture minister Dario Franceschini. The result has been many instances of attentive, responsible economic support from Rome for the arts and letters of Italy, thanks to the ability of Franceschini and Levi to make the case.
“The current situation, however,” Levi cautions, “reminds us of the persistence of structural difficulties of our country, such as low reading rates, and new and difficult circumstances, which include rising paper prices. All these issues will be examined, along with many others, during the book fair in Rome.”
And at that fair, a presentation of this market data will be part of the first meeting in the trade programming developed for publishing professionals at the Più libri più liberi.
A Preview of Market Data Indicators: 2021
These figures, calculations, and projections cover the period from January 4 to November 11 of this year.
- In the period from January 4 to November 11 of this year, retail price sales came to €1.356 million (US$1.5 million), up by 22 percent over 2020 and by 15 percent over 2019
- This represents sales of 92 million books with a 25-percent increase over 2020 and 17 percent over 2019
- In fact, the retail price of sales is €14.67 (US$16.59), down by 2.4 percent over 2020 and by 1.7 percent over 2019
- According to the AIE team’s workup of data from a variety of sources, online bookshops were at the same levels as they were in 2020 (43.5 percent) and considerably up–by 30 percent–over 2019.
- Physical bookshops have maintained 51.5 percent of the market, and major retail chains hold 5 percent
- The growth in the market in 2021, therefore, is seen to lie in increased digital sales, up from €329 million (US$372 million) in 2019 to the €506 million (US$572 million) of 2020 and the €590 million (US$667 million) of this year
- Also a factor: a recovery in physical bookshops, which after €711 million in sales in 2019 (US$804 million) dropped to €601 (US$680 million) in 2020 but have now risen to €698 (US$789 million)
- Major retails chains have fallen slightly to €68 million (US$77 million)
- After a pandemic-driven decline in 2020, the number of new printed publications has risen again to 68,057, up by 10 percent over 2020 and down by 1 percent over 2019
- With an 11-percent decrease over 2020 and 2 percent over 2019, new ebook publications are down to 40,866
Categories and Bestselling Titles
- Data for the first 11 months of the year confirms that market growth is the same across the categories, but with some peaks.
- In gaming and leisure, sales are seen to be up by 235 percent, comics are up by 188 percent, and current political affairs are up 56 percent
- The year’s Top 10 bestselling titles (see attachment) confirm a mix of categories, new releases, and long-term sellers
- Two authors have two titles each in the Top 10: Stefani Auci (Nos. 1 and 10) and Valerie Perrin (Nos. 2 and 5)
- The top 50 titles account for 5.4 percent of total sales and 5 percent of copies, confirming an increasingly rich and varied market
- Catalogue sales have increased by 25 percent over 2019 to reach €944 million (US$1.07 billion), and new titles by 16 percent to €412 million (US$466 million)
Here’s an embed of the presentation, in Italian, of course:
More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on world book publishing is here.