Online sales decline, bookstore sales increase, according to AIE
Online sales lose share and bookstores increase their sales. The president of AIE, Ricardo Franco Levi, foresees a «difficult future due to inflation and the emergence of paper».
After a record 2021, in the first six months of 2022, the miscellaneous publishing sector (novels and essays sold in physical and online bookstores and in superstores) suffered a decline of 3.6% fewer copies sold and 4.2% less in sales value (cover price) compared to the same period of the previous year. But compared to the pre-pandemic period, the comparison is still positive: plus 14.5% in copies and plus 14.7% in value (2019 data), according to estimates by the Research Office of the Italian Publishers Association (AIE) on Nielsen BookScan surveys.
«This is a drop due to the decline in sales in online channels, only partly offset by the recovery of physical bookstores,» explained AIE president Ricardo Franco Levi, «the economic situation is difficult, but publishers, despite rising inflation and the continuing emergence of paper, have not adjusted prices.»
Sales are down slightly and prices are stable. From January 2 to June 19, sales in trade channels (physical bookstores, online and large distribution) were 670 million, 30 million less than in 2021 but 86 million more than in 2019. The number of copies sold was 46 million, 1.7 million less than in 2021 but 5.8 million more than in 2019. The average selling price, €14.66, decreased 0.6% compared to 2021 and 1.1% compared to 2019.
Online decreases and bookstores grow. Online bookstores sold 284.8 million books at a cover price in the first half of the year: down 43 million from the previous year, largely recovered by physical bookstores, which grew to 353.8 million, 21 million more. Large-scale distribution fell to 31.5 million, losing more than six million. In terms of market share, online bookstores fell from 47% to 42.5%, and physical bookstores increased from 47.8% to 52.8%.
Comics on the rise
The boom in comics was confirmed, growing 23.7% year-on-year and 245.4% year-on-year. Foreign fiction also did well, growing 4.8% year-on-year and 26.2% over 2019. Among the best performing market segments in 2022 were travel guides (up more than 100%) and romance and chick-lit novels (up more than 60%).