A common feature of any discussion about a given book market is that the sales happening in the domestic retail sector are the only numbers that matter.
This week comes news in Brazil from a study by GfK and the National Bookstores Association (ANL) that, compared with the same period in 2017, book sales are up in both value (1.2%) and volume (8.6%).
The retail numbers come in at 3.8 million units sold for R$ 142.3 million ($38.5 million), with the average price for a book down 6.9% to R$37.3 ($10).
Year to year revenue growing at 4.2%, for R$1.75 billion ($473 million), totaling 40.7 million units.
And despite the presence of Amazon, bookstores continue to see growth – 3.6% – while accounting for 92.1% of print sales.
That via PublishNewsBR.
But there’s another side to the book market of any country, quite apart from untracked ebook sales, etc), that rarely gets discussed but by happy coincidence came up this week over at the BrazilPublishers website..
Brazil Publishers describes itself as,
an industry project to promote exports of Brazilian editorial content carried out through a partnership between Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil)., an umbrella organisation that seeks to raise the profile of the publishing industry in Brazil.
It transpires that Brazilian participation at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which finished last month, generated an additional $700,000 in book business, expected to come in over the coming twelve months.
Brazil Publishers Manager Luiz Alvaro Salles Aguiar de Menezes, who is also International Affairs Manager of the Brazilian Book Chamber, said,
Last year, US$ 680,000 were generated in business expectations. In 2018, this value increased, proving that the export actions of the Brazilian editorial content that we produce generate results for the publishing houses that are part of Brazilian Publishers and for the whole market, since Brazilian literature is reaching readers from other countries.
This $700,000, important to stress, is just from the Frankfurt event.
Earlier this year Sharjah was guest of honour at the Sao Paulo Biennial, and while I don’t have any figures it’s safe to say deals were done, and safe to say more deals will be happening at the Sharjah International Book Fair that is happening right now in the UAE.
And of course at myriad other global book fairs and trade shows through the year.
A reminder that, important as domestic sales are for any publisher, they are only part of the show.
And while print exports have many accompanying challenges and costs, digital exports are a far more efficient, and far more lucrative option for publishers willing and wanting to embrace the global markets.