Frankfurt Shorts: FEP, WIPO, and PP Forum by the Numbers

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

As the 74th Frankfurter Buchmesse opens Wednesday, several presentations will get right into industry numbers and data.

A business conversation at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2012. Image: FBM, Alexander Heimann

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

When the Federation of European Publishers on Wednesday lays out results from its annual statistical survey of the European book market, it will be the first time the organization has done this at Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Event: “The Book Market in Europe 2021/2022”
Venue: Frankfurt Studio, Hall 4.0
When: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 19

The session opens with introductory remarks from the federation’s president, Peter Kraus vom Cleff, and then will be turned over to FEP deputy director and economist Enrico Turrin for the facts and figures. His presentation will look at detailed data collected by the federation on the turnover from book sales and the titles published by European book publishers in 2021, plus the evolution of formats and trade channels. Turrin will outline how main markets have performed so far in 2022.

Publishing Perspectives asked the FEP for a few early glimpses of what’s coming. Turrin kindly responded with a few points we’ll pass on to you here, with the caveat that these are quite preliminary stats and only a very small fraction of what the presented work will be on Wednesday.

  • Data for 2021, Turrin tells us, “confirm our initial impression of a strong rebound, with publishers’ turnover up some 6 percent vs. 2020.”

Enrico Turrin

Of course this is partly because of the negative result of 2020, he says, “but it’s the largest single-year increase for the past 15 years, at least, and brings the market back to the level of 2008- alas, not counting inflation.”

  • Title production seems to remain stable, he says, with some countries experiencing a decrease, and others increasing because publishers are catching up with projects that had to be abandoned” during earlier stages of the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic
  • Children’s books remain very strong, as they have in earlier stages of these pandemic years.
  • “Coming to 2022,” Turrin says, “we collected data on the first few months—mainly the first semester—and the picture is mixed.”
  • Several markets have experienced a contraction up to June-July compared to 2021, including Germany, Italy, and France. But note that Italy and France did extremely well in the beginning of 2021, while the German decrease is very modest.
  • “Various other markets are still growing,” Turrin says, “a few still strongly, including the Nordics (except Sweden) and the United Kingdom
  • Most interestingly, anywhere there’s growth—and in a few cases where there isn’t—sales in bookshops are doing well or very well, whereas in all territories with data available … online sales of print books have so far been shrinking, sometimes significantly.”

Turrin concludes his sneak peek for us, saying that separately from the data, “I need to point out that right now, the main concern for publishers, in all countries, across the board, is the paper crisis.”

Talking About the Costs

Event: “Executive Talk: HarperCollins UK’s Charlie Redmayne”
Venue: Publishing Perspectives Forum, Congress Center
When: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 19

Turrin is exactly right about that, as we find that each of our Publishing Perspectives Forum Executive Talk guests and leadership influencers will be talking about “The Cost of Doing Business” as we call one of our sessions: a defining issue of this Frankfurt.

You’ll start hearing from this, as a matter of fact , when we open the PP Forum on Wednesday at 10 a.m. with HarperCollins UK CEO Charlie Redmayne. Wait until you hear him tell you what a shipping container is costing him these days.

And that’s before he gets to the price of energy when you have massive warehouse in Scotland.

Right after Redmayne, at 11 a.m., it’s “The Cost of Doing Business in 2022,” speaking of that issue, with Ingram’s David Taylor; Abismos Editorial’s Sidharta; and Todo Modo’s Maddalena Fossombroni.

Join us at the Publishing Perspectives Forum at any point on Wednesday or Thursday you can get to us and feel free to duck in, stay a few minutes, then dash off to your next commitment, it’s fine to go and come. All in English. All focused on the business. Two days, 38 speakers.

The PP Forum is in Room Spektrum, second level at the Congress Center. The best way to get there is the Via Mobile, the elevated walkway that runs between Hall 6 and the Congress Center—parallel to Hall 5.

Our full workup of who’s talking is here, and we commend Turrin’s FEP session to you at Frankfurt Studio.

WIPO’s Global Publishing Industry Report

Event: “How Does Data Serve the Publishing Industry?”
Venue: Frankfurt Studio, Hall 4.0
When: 11 a.m. Wednesday, October 19

More stats? Stay at the Studio after Turrin’s talk for the World Intellectual Property Organization presentation of its Global Publishing Industry report—we’ll be moderating that one with:

Lots to talk about and many good observations are going to be brought up—about how without good data, we’re trying to assess the industry, as The Bookseller‘s Philip Jones once wisely said, by candlelight.

Our Frankfurter Buchmesse Show Magazine now is out—in print on the Messe Frankfurt for trade visitors and exhibitors, and here in a free digital download for our world readership online.

The magazine has extensive coverage of issues and trends that are leading discussions and debates at the trade show this year, along with interviews, profiles, and commentary in this strongly attended Frankfurt year. Click here for your download (PDF).
More on Frankfurter Buchmesse itself is here, more on this year’s Guest of Honor Spain is here, more on guest of honor programs and markets is here, and more on international book fairs is here, more on industry statistics is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the global media partner of the International Publishers Association.

More from us on the still ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.