The non-mention of BookBeat UK tells its own story. The UK and US are of course the mainstay of the subscription-NIMBY movement (Not In My Back Yard) and BookBeat routinely opts to just pretend there is no BookBeat UK operation, while keeping the candle burning for the inevitable swing to come as consumer preferences shift inexorably towards subscription content.


While TNPS has been in limbo these past weeks, Sweden-based digital books streaming service BookBeat delivered its 2020 results, and unsurprisingly it was a success story. “The strangest and most successful year in BookBeat’s five-year history,” in CEO Niclas Sandin’s words.

Bookbeat, the streaming arm of Bonnier, reported 63% revenue growth in 2020, amounting to SEK 508 million (USD 61.3 million), with paying subscribers as 2020 ended coming in at 421,000, up 65%, with a day in late December breaking records for one-day new subscribers.

And the success story continued into the new year, as Sandin explained in the BookBeat press release:

A few days ago we closed BookBeat’s best January ever measured in the number of new users.

Other highlights from the press release:

  • The average revenue after VAT per paying user and month (ARPU) in 2020 was SEK 125.
  • The average reading and listening in hours per paying user and month in 2020 was 24 hours.
  • In 2020, the milestone of 200 million hours read and listened in BookBeat was passed since its launch at the end of 2015.

As well as Sweden, BookBeat operates in the UK, Germany and Finland, and since 2020 in Poland and Denmark, as well as having a notional (accessible) presence in 20 other EU countries.

From the press release:

In Sweden, BookBeat’s growth in the role of main challenger remained strong and in percentage terms it was above market growth, which leads to increased market shares.

In Finland, BookBeat continued in its role as market leader to drive the creation of a new market that is judged to approach Sweden’s level in the proportion of the population that has a subscription service for e-books and audiobooks.

In Germany, BookBeat’s role as main challenger this year greatly increased its investment in growth and more than doubled the number of new users compared to 2019.

In Denmark and Poland, BookBeat launched a broad launch in the autumn, where the long-term ambition is to reach the role of market leader or main challenger.

The non-mention of BookBeat UK tells its own story. The UK and US are of course the mainstay of the subscription-NIMBY movement (Not In My Back Yard) and BookBeat routinely opts to just pretend there is no BookBeat UK operation, while keeping the candle burning for the inevitable swing to come as consumer preferences shift inexorably towards subscription content.

But the UK aside 2020 was a good year for BookBeat and 2021 promises to be more of the same.

And we can safely assume similar uplifting stories from 2020 will define the annual reviews from the other streaming services, in Sweden and globally.

Stay tuned for more.