Spain’s Book Market in 2022: Up 5.5 Percent

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The annual report from Spain’s publishers describes a 10th consecutive year of growth for the country’s book market, at €2.7 billion.

A late holiday season bookstore window in Barcelona, January 4, 2022. During last year, bookstores and bookstore chains accounted for 53.9 percent of sales in Spain, according to the new report from the Federación de Gremios de Editores de España. Imported titles, some seen in this store window, accounted for some €121.4 million, and the federation sees its trade balance for 2022 as positive, at €281.7 million. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Manuel Milan

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

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Children’s and Youth Categories Grew 8.6 Percent
In its report on the Spanish market’s 2022 performance, the Federación de Gremios de Editores de España (Federation of Publishers’ Guilds of Spain, FGEE) says that sales put the market at €2.7 billion (US$2.9.0 billion), a gain of more than 5.5 percent in the business’ billings.

Several top-line points have been emphasized in market’s annual report:

  • In five years, Spain has seen an increase of 15 percent in its growth—11 percent growth over levels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Growth measured in 2022 supported a broad range of sectors, with the children’s and youths’ sector growing 8.6 percent, adult fiction up 8.5 percent over 2022 levels.
  • Spain published 83,091 titles in 2022. Of those, 57,125 titles were published in print, and 25,966 were published in digital formats.

Growth of Spain’s market by value in 2022. Image: Federación de Gremios de Editores de España

  • In unit sales, the sector increased the number of copies sold by four million and the average price stood at €14.40 (US15.85).
  • In digital books, Spain’s market increased turnover by 3.3 percent to €139 million (US$152.4 million).
  • Bookstores and bookstore chains remained the main channels of distribution, accounting for a reported 53.9 percent of sales.
  • Sales of print in online retail continued to grow, but at a slower rate than in past years.
International Market

Spain’s book exports by geographical regions. Image: Federación de Gremios de Editores de España

Discussion from the federation tells us, “After two years in which foreign trade figures were falling as a result of the pandemic and restrictions on the mobility of people and goods, exports began to recover in 2022, especially in the graphic arts sector.”

  • In overall sales in foreign markets, the book sector recorded an increase of 3.6 percent to €403.1 million (US$442 million). Exports in the book sector grew by 1.0 percent to €348.5 million (US$382.2 million).
  • In graphic narratives—which had seen a downturn during the pandemic—Spain saw an increase of 24.3 percent to €54.6 million (US$59.8 million).

Latin America of course continues to be the main area for Spanish exports. In 2022, the book sector (comprising both publishers and graphics) exported goods and services, mainly books, worth €182.4 million (US$274 million), which is 0.98 percent above the exports of 2021.

  • Spain’s publishing industry exported to other parts of the European Union some €146.3 million (US$160.5 million) in inventory, a gain over 2021 of  7.29 percent.
  • By countries, Mexico remains the top destination for Spanish exports with €63.5 million. That’s followed by France with €61.7 million; Argentina €31.3 million; and Italy, €23.2 million.

Increases in 2022 were also registered in Spain’s  book imports, coming in at €121.4 million (US$133.2 million).

The federation reports that its balance of trade remains positive at €281.7 million (US$309.2 million).

Digital Formats

Spain’s reported 2022 key figures in digital publishing formats. Image: Federación de Gremios de Editores de España

The federation’s report indicates that digital formats continue to make progress in Spain’s marketplace, and yet the share of the market held by these formats remained static.

The number of published titles in digital formats increased by 7.4 percent, the data tells us, reaching 25,966, bringing 2022’s total of digital titles in Spain’s catalogue to 193,853 titles.

The turnover for the sale and download of books in digital format increased by 3.3 percent over 2021, reaching €139.3 million (US$152.8). That accounts for 5.1 percent of the total turnover of the publishing sector, a percentage unchanged in recent years.

  • Nonfiction was the dominant sector in digital format, but this, in the federation’s report, includes legal databases, nonfiction accounting for 61.1 percent of sales.
  • Fiction for adults followed in digital, with an increase of 5.8 percent
  • Digitally formatted textbooks were the third category significant in this regard.

As in previous years, Conecta was the company working with the federation to produce its report on the Spanish market for 2022.

Notice that audiobooks in Spain — in this chart of principal results — accounted for €3.43 million in 2022. Image: Federación de Gremios de Editores de España

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Spanish market is here, and more on publishing statistics is here. More from us on Europe is here, and more on Spanish-language literature and interests 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.