Social distancing, lockdowns, teleworking and tele-schooling, introduced to limit the damages by the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the European Union (EU) and the world, force most of us to spend most of our time at home. So why not make the best of it? Pick up a book and read! Let your imagination free, expand your horizons and learn something new – alone, with your children or your parents!
Buying a book is relatively affordable. The price of books in the EU is growing more slowly than the total consumer prices, as measured by the monthly Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP). Between February 2010 and February 2020, the price of books increased by 9%, compared to 14% for total consumer prices.
Data on the prices of different genres of books are available from December 2016. While the price of books in general has risen by almost 2% from December 2016 to February 2020, the price of e-book downloads has fallen by -4% and that of educational textbooks by -2%. In contrast, the price of fiction books was up 2% in this period.
Data source: prc_hicp_midx
In 2019, exports of books to countries outside the EU amounted to EUR 1.9 billion and the corresponding imports to 1.6 billion.
Over the last decade, exports of books to countries outside the EU increased by 18%, from EUR 1.6 billion in 2009 to EUR 1.9 billion in 2019. During the same period, imports of books remained at EUR 1.6 billion.
The main EU countries are the same for export and for imports: in 2019, Germany exported books for EUR 563 million and imported for EUR 277 million, France exported books for EUR 364 million and imported for EUR 229 million, while Spain exported books for EUR 286 million and imported for EUR 196 million.
Data source: DS-645593
Overall, EUR 5.1 billion worth of books were sold in the EU in 2018. Compared with 2008, sold production decreased by 28% from EUR 7.0 billion.
Among EU Member States, the largest producer of books was Germany, with EUR 889 million. Poland (EUR 661 million) and Spain (EUR 604 million) printed large amounts of books.
Data source: DS-066341
On 23 April each year, the World Book Day is celebrated. Its aim is to promote the enjoyment of books and reading, celebrating the scope of books as a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures.
- For more information on statistics available in this area, take a look at the overviews of the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), statistics on international trade in goods (ITGS) and statistics on the production of manufactured goods (PRODCOM).
- It should be noted that whereas the international trade statistics record only tangible products crossing borders, the manufacturing statistics (PRODCOM) record industrial printing services. The trade statistics cover printed books, brochures and similar printed matter in one product category, whether or not in single sheets, while manufacturing statistics divide this in two separate product categories.
- The European Union (EU) includes 27 EU Member States. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Further information is published here.
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