The German book market in November 2021.

MEDIA REPUBLIK > books & e-books > MONTHLY BOOK SALES MONITOR > NOVEMBER 2021

In the second Corona winter, the November book sales data in Germany confirms that the uncertainties of the ongoing pandemic led to earlier gift purchases. Sales across all distribution channels increased slightly compared to November 2020, but still under the pre-pandemic level, especially in the local bookshops. In this post, a quick overview of the monthly monitor of book sales in Germany by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (Federal Association of the German book trade).

-0.3%

TURNOVER
NOV 2021
VS
NOV 2020

+3%

CUmulative
turnover
11 months
2021 VS 2020

-3.3%

CUMULATIVE
TURNOVER
11 MONTHS
2021 VS 2019

On overview on the German book market by distribution channel.

The report by the Branchen-Monitor BUCH segments book sales into five channels:

  1. Retail book trade (local bookshops),
  2. E-commerce,
  3. Railway station book trade,
  4. Department stores,
  5. Electrical goods and drugstores.

This post does not delve into the channel by channel performance. You can visit this page and this page for a more comprehensive view of data.

The overall turnover (Umsatz) was 0.3% below November 2020, but the number of copies sold increased slightly compared to November of the previous year (plus 0.7%). The prices paid declined again: on average, buyers paid 14,09 euros per book last month, slightly less than in the same month of 2020.

Thus, the cumulative turnover January-November 2021 increased by 3% compared to the same period of 2020. That does not compensate for the losses of the pandemic: in the first eleven months of 2021, the turnover scored minus 3.3% compared to the first eleven months of 2019.

Change in 2021 compared to the same period of the previous year (cumulative)
Sales volume+0.9%
Price+2,1%
Turnover+3,0%
Legend: From January to November 2021, sales in the five distribution channels were 0.9 percent higher than from January to November 2020.

Source: NOV 2021 Branchen Monitor BuchBörsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels

Local bookshops.

The local book trade is still suffering: after the first eleven months of this year, the cumulated turnover in this channel was minus 5.9% compared to the period January-November 2020.

Books sold (sales volume) in bookshops recorded a minus of 3.5% in November 2021 compared to the same month of 2020. The cumulated book sold in the first eleven months of 2021 fell by 8.2% compared to 2020.

Change in 2021 compared to the same period of the previous year (cumulative)
Sales volume-8,2%
Price+2,5%
Turnover-5,9%
Legend: From January to November 2021, sales in the retail book trade were 8.2 per cent below those from January to November 2020.

Source: NOV 2021 Branchen Monitor BuchBörsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels

Product groups.

Cumulatively, in the interim balance after the first eleven months of 2021, most product groups are still above the comparable period of 2020 in turnover terms.

Only travel books did not reach the result of the same period last year (minus 3.3%), and science slipped into the red sometimes. All other product groups currently have positive signs.

Legend: From January to November 2021, fiction sales in the five distribution channels were 4.9 per cent higher than from January to November 2020.

Source: NOV 2021 Branchen Monitor BuchBörsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels

Comparison with the pre-pandemic year 2019.

Compared to the corresponding period of the pre-Corona year 2019, the balance looks slightly worse:

  • Guidebooks (minus 2.5 per cent), especially travel books (minus 27.9%), are down here.
  • Science books also perform predominantly worse than in 2019,
  • while fiction (up 4.7 per cent) and non-fiction (up 1.8%) are up in the pre-Corona year.
  • Children and kids books record a significant plus (plus 11.8%).

The BUCH Industry Monitor.

The book market in Germany comprises different distribution channels (market shares refer to the year 2020). The Media Control retail panel so far covers the distribution channels coloured red: retail bookstores, department stores, e-commerce and partly the other distribution channels (station bookstores, electronic and drugstores are part of the Media Control retail panel).

Börsenverein

The BUCH industry monitor uses data collected by Media Control Baden-Baden. The statistical basis of the panel includes 5.716 sales outlets in the distribution channels of retail bookshops (2.355 sales outlets), railway station bookshops (479), department stores (197), electrical goods and drugstores (2.675) and e-commerce (10, incl. Amazon). All sales (except for School and Learning) of the retailers taking part in the sample, which are recorded via the cash register systems and are identifiable, form the basis. The survey period is the first to the last day of each month.

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