The global books market: changing, but very much alive

All around the world, book publishers are adapting their business models to modern-day consumer preferences. Here, we look at the future of books, the fastest-growing markets and some innovative tactics for growing your publishing business.

What constitutes the books market?

The books market can be divided into two main segments:

  • Physical books, including atlases, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, text books, guidebooks, musical scores, maps, fiction and non-fiction  
  • e-Books, including all electronic books which can be read on computers, tablets, e-readers or other electronic devices  
Magazines, downloadable audio and physical audio are generally not included in the books market.

The global book market size

The global book publishers market had an estimated worth of $87.92 billion in 2020 and has grown to $92.68 billion in 2021. This strong compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4% can largely be attributed to publishing companies rearranging their operations and recovering after the restrictive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The global book market size is expected to hit $104.21 billion in 2025, at a CAGR of 3%.

SourceGlobal Book Publishers Market Report (2021 to 2030) - COVID-19 Impact and Recovery - ResearchAndMarkets.com

Books commodity

The biggest book markets in Europe

Within Europe, buying books was the most popular in Italy and the UK according to data from PostNord. These countries had the largest percentage of consumers who bought books and audiobooks in 2020.  

  • In Italy, 48% of consumers bought books and audiobooks in 2020 
  • In the UK, 47% of consumers bought books and audiobooks in 2020  
  • In Germany, 41% of consumers bought books and audiobooks in 2020  
  • In Spain, 39% of consumers bought books and audiobooks in 2020  
  • In The Netherlands, 38% of consumers bought books and audiobooks in 2020  
  • In France, 33% of consumers bought books and audiobooks in 2020  
  • In Poland, 31% of consumers bought books and audiobooks in 2020  
  • In Belgium, 27% of consumers bought books and audiobooks in 2020  

Up-and-coming book markets

On a global level, the regions with the largest compound annual growth rate of book publishing revenue are Asia-Pacific (1.9%), Latin America (1.7%) and North America (1.3%). Book publishing revenue in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region is growing at the slowest rate (0.3%).

SourceGlobal growth of book publishing revenue by region 2018-2023 | Statista

How to get ahead in the world of books

In order to stay ahead of the changes in the book publishing market, it’s wise to be aware of the following trends.

  • e-Books are the future. Although physical books still account for the largest percentage of book purchases worldwide, the sales of e-books has shown a significantly higher growth rate in recent years. According to PWC, the physical book publishing industry will continue to shrink (-2.8%) while the growth of the e-books market is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.7% between 2021 and 2030.
  • Print-on-demand can help publishers increase profitability. The print-on-demand model can help publishers keep printing and inventory costs down and maintain reasonable margins in a market where consumers expect to be able to buy books low-cost books. With the print-on-demand business model, a book is only printed after an order is secured. Various providers are now perfecting their print-on-demand services, with books sometimes being published within two hours after an order comes in.
  • Personalised books are gaining territory. Online services that facilitate the creation of personalised stories have been opening up a realm of new possibilities in the book publishing industry. As people can customise books around their own character, books can become an even more personal gift than ever.

SourcesE-Books Still No Match for Printed Books – Statista and Global Book Publishers Market Report (2021 to 2030) - COVID-19 Impact and Recovery - ResearchAndMarkets.com.

Inspired to grow your book publishing business?

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