The ebook market in Germany has increased in value, as more publishers are now offering expanded content. There is a growing demand for ebooks from retail chains like Thalia and foreign entrants such as Amazon and Kobo. In 2012, the overall market share accounted for 2.4% of book sales in Germany. This represents a tripling of growth in 2011 with 0.8% and 0.5% in 2010.
The German Publishing industry IS experiencing growth, in a country where people have a longstanding affinity for physical books and newspapers. In a recent survey of 361 publishers, they all claim ebook sales account for 9% of their overall sales. This is a solid increase from 6.2% in 2011 and 5.4% in 2010.
The entire publishing community in Germany is seeing surging revenue figures by primarily offering front-list titles when the physical book hits print. In the past, this wasn’t always the case. The comic book industry only recently started offering same day digital publication in North America, and the rest of the world takes a bit of time to adapt.
Like most markets in the world, the increase in ebook sales are directly attributed to the declining retail book trade. Jürgen Horbach, treasurer and business speaker of the German Booksellers Association, commented on the survey by saying, “Sales in the retail book trade in 2012 amounted to 4.6 billion euros, 3.7% less than last year.”
Germany has only received e-readers in the local market during the last two years. Book rights experts and digital specialists have been meeting with German small press and medium sized publishers constantly since the launch of the Kindle and Kobo. A new market takes time to mature, but it is currently on the upswing. One of the big reasons why it may grow further is due to the release of the Tolino Shine. This e-reader is almost in 12,500 different bookstores and was the first time Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Bertelsmann Club, and Deutsche Telekom banded together to fight Amazon.
The entire digital industry might not grow as large in the same period of time as the North American or UK markets, but we should get a sense of how 2013 will pan out at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.