The book sector makes 10% less profit than in 2010

According to the Publishers Association of Catalonia, the book sector made a 10% loss last year. Books in Catalan represent 26.5% of the domestic market, 1.1% more than in 2009.

CNA / Margalida Amengual

January 21, 2011 11:17 PM

Barcelona (ACN) .- The new president of the Publishers Association of Catalonia Xavier Mallafré presented a report today on the current state of the sector. According to the report, the book market fell by 9.84% in 2010 in Spain, a figure that can be compared to Catalonia, which in contrast saw an increase of 3.95% in book sales compared to 2009. The fall is caused in part by a lower average price of 0.5 euros per book. The sale of paper back volumes has increased. Regarding the language, according to the estimate made by the association, books in Catalan represented 26.5% of the domestic market in 2010, an increase of 1.1% over the previous year .

The turnover of the book market in Catalonia fell by almost 10% in 2010, according to a report released by the Publishers Association of Catalonia. According to the new president of the association Xavier Mallafré, the fall was caused in part by the decrease in the average price of 50 cents per book.

In 2009, the Spanish publishing industry had a turnover of 3,110 million euros, of which 1,030 was thanks to libraries, 844 for textbooks, 431 for institutions and 317 in direct sales and companies, 246 for online sales and 242 for kiosk sales.

According to data from the organisation, 40% of the profit was thanks to libraries.  Last year Catalan books made up 26.5% of the market (compared to 25 4% in 2009) versus 67.5% in Spanish and other languages.

In 2009, 33,428 titles were published by the Publishers Association, of which 8,554 were in Catalan, 0.6% more than the year before. However, the overall average circulation fell 13.7%, with 5,139 copies per title, a figure that in the case of books in Catalan is reduced to 2,669 copies per title.

Xavier Mallafré explained this increase of 1,1% of books in the Catalan language saying it was due to the drop in the impact of bestsellers (especially the sagas of Dan Brown, Stieg Larsson and the adventures of Harry Potter) but said that it was not significant increase and one in every four books sold is in Catalan.

Four out of ten people do not read books

According to a study in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, 58% of the population consider themselves readers, 42% read occasionally and 25% never read. These figures put Catalonia among the four top Autonomous Communities with the most readers, but Madrid is behind with a rate of 60%. According to Mallafré, the aim is “to continue expanding the spectrum of readers”. Mallafré said that new technologies may help to attract readers.

According to the Vice President of the association Daniel Fernandez, a new model of contract for digital rights as at the moment 4% VAT applies to all electronic devices and 18% for all digital contents, and as this is something downloaded, he considers it ‘illogical’.

Regarding the future of the digital book, which is currently priced between 20 and 30% less than paper back books, Mallafré said “we do not know where exactly we are going, but we know we are going”. “We need a dramatic change of model”.

As for Saint Jordi Day (23rd of April), Mallafré reiterated the decision not to move the 'sacred' day even though it falls on Easter Sunday. The President said that cities like Mataró hold activities throughout the week, and Barcelona, although it is not fully decided, publishers and booksellers will present a joint proposal to the council, which has already offered its cooperation.