Good news for Italian publishing. 2021 could close with one double-digit growth, between 11% and 16%, for i printed books from narrative e non-fiction sold in physical and online bookstores and in large-scale distribution, for a turnover (sales at cover price) between 1.6 and 1.7 billion euros.
In 2019, sales were 1,487 million, 1,470 in 2020.
Physical bookstores are once again overtaking online bookstores. The projection, obtained by adding the values of 2019 (for the most conservative estimate) and 2020 (for the most optimistic) to the result of the first nine months, is contained in the periodic analysis of the market that the Italian Publishers Association (AIE) carries out. in collaboration with NielsenIQ and which was presented today at the Turin International Book Fair.
“The data for the first nine months – explained the president of Aie, Franco Levi – confirm the structural growth of Italian publishing of various kinds and give us two facts to reflect on. The first: after being overtaken in 2020, physical bookstores have returned to selling more than online bookstores, which in any case confirm their leading role after the pandemic “.
“The second – he added – Italian publishing is less and less dependent on best sellers and news, the role of the catalog is growing and sales are spread over a greater number of titles”.
In the first nine months of the year, sales totaled 1,037 million euros, marking one growth of 29% on 2020 and 16% on 2019.
As for the number of copies, the nine months amounted to 72 million copies, up 31% on 2020 and 18% on 2019. The average cover price of sales is in fact down and equal to 14.35 euros (- 1.9% on 2020 and -1.7% on 2019). Physical bookstores are back as the first sales channel: they are at 499.9 million (362.5 million in 2020), against 479.1 million for online bookstores (383.4 million in 2020), and 58.1 million for large distribution (57.9 million in 2020).
At the level of market shares the bookstores have 48.2%, three percentage points more than in 2020 but over ten less than in 2019.
Online accounts for 46.2%, large retailers for 5.6%. Compared to 2020, the year in which the pandemic had marked a significant contraction of news in the press in the various sector, there has been a partial recovery.
There are 52,500 printed news published in the first nine months, up by 9.6% compared to 2020 but down by 2.5% compared to 2019. All genres, fiction and non-fiction, are growing uniformly, with peaks for books on games and free time (+ 251%), comics (+ 202%) and political news (+ 66%). Catalog books account for 727 million on sales, while novelties for 277 million. Compared to 2019, sales in the catalog grow more than those relating to novelties: more 19% versus more 12%.
The ranking of the top ten best-selling books contains titles published in 2019 and 2020, to dispel the myth that a book “resists” on the market for only a few months.
To demonstrate how much publishing is changing, also due to the spread of online bookstores where a large number of catalog titles and different publishers are easily found, is the relatively low weight of best sellers: the top 50 best-selling books weigh on the market only 6.2% in value and 5.5% in number of copies.
Finally, thebalance between the top five publishing groups and the other publishers: the former have 45.2% of the miscellaneous market, the latter 54.8%, up by less than one percentage point compared to the previous year.