The Çukurova Book Fair is underway in Turkey and Kenan Kocatürk, head of the Turkish Publishers Association (TPA), has marked the event with a summary of 2019 publishing.
As reported by Hurryet Daily News,
Independent publishers in the country have published 423 million books in 2019, According to Kocatürk, 410 million books were published in 2018.
The figure for new books published in 2019 was 68,000-70,000. This figure was 66,000 in 2018 and 60,000 in 2017.
A book in Turkey costs around $2.5, while a book in Europe costs around $15, the head of TPA noted.
The latter point is particularly noteworthy, because so often we talk about the global book market in revenue terms and lose track of the volume aspect, which can warp our perspective.
Take the example list prices referenced here.
10,000 books sold in Turkey at $2.50 brings in $25,000 revenue. 10,000 books sold in Europe at $15 brings in $150,000.
At first glance it’s a no brainer. Europe is the best deal for publishers. But without knowing the profit margins and production costs, and also factoring in living costs, that assumption could be way off the mark.
The same issue arises with audiobooks, where there is endless excitement about how audiobooks are raking in cash as against ebooks which supposedly have plateaued.
But we see ebooks selling at $0.99, $2.99 and $10 and we know the production costs once the story itself is finalised are negligible.
With audiobooks we might expect to pay $30 a shot. For the same money we could buy 30, 10 or 3 ebooks. But the production costs for audio are always higher, so which is the better deal?
More importantly, which is the better selling book?
The book that sells three copies in audio format and brings in $90 list price, or the ebook that sells 90 copies at $0.99 and brings in $90?
Coming full circle to Turkey, it’s easy to dismiss the Turkish book market as insignificant when compared to the US or UK or Germany, but without comparing population demographics, relative incomes, publishing costs and margins and a host of other factors we cannot have a meaningful comparison.
Per this post from TNPS, Turkey has a vibrant book fair scene attracting over 2 million booklovers each year.