Forecasts for year end even better for trade publishing (fiction and non-fiction sold in bookshops and major retail chains) in Italy: 2021 will close, according to forecasts by the AIE (Italian Publishers Association) based on trends to date and in comparison with 2019 and 2020, with sales at retail prices between 1.656 million euros and 1.710 million (excluding e-books and audio books). This means a growth between 12.6% and 16.3% on 2020, according to simulation by the survey office on NielsenIQ data presented online today in a preview of Più libri più liberi, the national fair for small and medium publishers organised by the Italian Publishers Association, taking place at La Nuvola in Rome from 4 to 8 December.
“The data presented today – commented Ricardo Franco Levi, President of the Italian Publishers Association – bear witness to the energy of Italian publishing, supported by investments made by publishers and supported over the course of the last two years by long-sighted public intervention policies. The current situation however must not let us forget the persisting structural difficulties of our country, like low reading rates, and new difficult circumstances, like the rising price of paper. All issues that will be tackled, alongside many others, during the Rome book fair”.
The market. In the period 4 January - 11 November, retail price sales came to 1.356 million euros, up by 22% on 2020 and by 15% on 2019. 92 million books, in terms of sales volume, with a 25% increase on 2020 and 17% on 2019. In fact, the retail price of sales is 14.67 euros, down by 2.4% on 2020 and by 1.7% on 2019.
Channels. According to AIE reprocessing of data from different sources, online bookshops in the period 4 January - 11 November were at the same levels as 2020 (43.5%) and considerably up on the 30% of 2019. Physical bookshops have 51.5% of the market, and major retail chains 5%. The growth in the market in 2021, therefore, is the fruit of major increases in sales for online bookshops (from the 329 million of 2019 to the 506 of 2020, to then reach the 590 of this year) and of the recovery of physical bookshops which after the 711 million in sales in 2019 dropped to 601 in 2020 but have now risen to 698. Major retails chains have fallen slightly to 68 million euros.
Production. After the decline in 2020 due to the pandemic, the number of new printed publications has risen again to 68,057, up by 10% on 2020 and down by 1% on 2019. With an 11% decrease on 2020 and by 2% on 2019 are new e-book publications, down to 40,866.
Categories and best-selling titles. Data for the first eleven months confirm that market growth is the same for all categories, with some peaks, for example in books about gaming and leisure, with sales up by 235%, comics (up by 188%), and current political affairs (up 56%). The ten best-selling titles (see attachment) confirm the mix of categories and between new titles and long sellers. Two authors, Stefani Auci and Valerie Perrin, are both in the best-sellers lists with two titles. The top fifty titles count for 5.4% of total sales and 5% of copies, confirming an increasingly rich and varied market and where the catalogue is of central importance. Catalogue sales, in fact, have increased by 25% on 2019 to reach 944 million, and new titles by 16% to 412 million.
The market data presented is the basis for comparing the data of small and medium publishers which will be the subject of the first meeting in the trade calendar of Più libri più liberi, the National fair for small and medium publishers, taking place in Rome from 4 to 8 December.