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eBooks Made up 6.4% of France’s Book Market in 2014

7047703331_13438f2279_bThe French publishing trade group SNE held its general assembly last week. Mixed in with the Amazon cursing and laments for the good old days, SNE president Vincent Montagne shared the latest stats on France’s publishing industry.

Book sales in France totaled 2,652 million euros on 422 million units sold in 2014. That’s down 1.3% in value and 1.2% in volume compared to 2013, which is relatively good news considering that the music market dropped a reported 7%, and the video sales decreased by 10%.

The SNE reported that 98,306 books were published in 2014, up 3% from 2013. They also reported excellent growth in the translation rights markets (a 6% increase over 2013).

The ebook market also grew in France in 2014; it now represents an estimated 6.4% of book sales in France, up from 4.1% in 2013. France’s ebook market totaled 161.4 million euros in 2014, up 53.3% from the previous year.

That 6.4% is concentrated in specific sectors, including professional publishing, where digital already accounts for over 40% of publishers' sales. Similarly, ebooks represent almost 25% of total sales in the social sciences category.

Curiously, ebooks still make up a negligible part of consumer book sales ( 2.9%, up from 2.3% last year).

And as for self-published ebooks, the SNE is unable to account for the number of self-pub ebooks sold in France last year. The above figures only reflect industry revenue, and thus they are missing anywhere from 10% to 50% of the French ebook market.

I know that is a broad range of possible error, but there’s a method to my madness. The lower end assumes that France has a small self-pub industry segment, while the upper end assumes that the French are buying a lot of ebooks from foreign publishers who sell ebooks cheaper than French publishers (not an outlandish idea, I think).

SNE via IDBoox

image  by jeroen_bennink

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Cheng Yu-tung June 29, 2015 um 3:02 pm

As more and more "classic" french books come into the public domain. These figures will increase due to independent book publishers, publishing in different formats and aggressive marketing.

People love their telephone, tablet and kindle. Every morning and evening not only in France you can see people reading.

Loïc June 29, 2015 um 4:17 pm

French books are damn expensive, around $20 for a just-released paperback. French ebooks are expensive too, mostly in the $8 to $15 range.
So as a french, I can tell you I mostly buy english language books, which are so cheap that it’s a treat. French publishers fix the prices (agency pricing is legal, here), which explains those stupid prices.

Most french readers I know just wait for mass market paperbacks, buy used books, or go to their nice public library.

Nate Hoffelder June 29, 2015 um 4:27 pm

Thanks. I thought I had read that foreign books were cheaper in France; thanks for confirming that detail.

AC de Fombelle June 30, 2015 um 4:57 am

Thanks for these numbers! I was hoping for this kind of growth for the eBook market in France (however how reluctant people I talk to there are) 🙂

btw, you’re right Loïc, I almost exclusively buy used books.

Hugh Howey June 30, 2015 um 8:14 am

I love how ebooks go up 53.3%, and when DBW summarizes your post, they call it a "tick" upwards.

Whale math?

Loïc June 30, 2015 um 9:32 am

You now, a small number with a 53% of growth is still a small number.
6.4% of book are sold as ebooks, it does not make much at all. And as said in the post, these ebooks are mostly technical books, PDFs I guess.

Loïc June 30, 2015 um 9:32 am

Damn typo: "know", of course.

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