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Book Industry: Latest Market Statistics and Trends

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Global Book Publishing Industry Analysis

In 2015, the worldwide book industry grossed over $603 billion in revenue, according to MarketLine. This segment makes up 79.6% of the overall publishing market. Technavio predicts that the book market, as a part of the publishing industry and the larger leisure industry, will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.98% from 2016 to 2020.

Individual readers are the main consumer base for the world’s book publishing market, with specific professional and student groups along with institutional buyers like libraries also creating demand, reports BizAcumen. Government and professional initiatives to promote educational and professional training, respectively, may further fuel book demand.

An obstacle to growth in the global book publishing market is the growing popularity of e-reader tablets like the Kindle, which is prompting consumers to buy books in digital format.

Challenges & Trends

The economic recession has led to greater penetration of digital technology (e-books) due to their price advantage, reports Global Industry Analysts. E-books cost less to produce and distribute, negatively impacting traditional publishing margins. Reading habits were also affected by the recession, with consumers less interested in the celebrity autobiography/memoir sector. Demand for other book genres also witnessed a falling off, including maps, atlases and books on mind, well-being, and food and beverages.

Book publishing related to maps and atlases witnessed erosion due to market penetration of satellite navigation systems, and GPRS. Increased availability of free online educative data eroded demand for hardback educative computer books. Meanwhile, demand for lighter reading options rose during the recession as readers seeking a dose of escapism put down serious fiction and non-fiction to pick up lighter reading options such as romances and murder mysteries. Demand for books exploring current social and political issues also witnessed rising demand.

The global book publishing market will continue to benefit from student demand for textbooks, educational books, and reference volumes. This demand is set to rise on the back of state spending on education, reports BizAcumen.

Other trends such as middle-aged readers getting back to reading, and a rising number of women buying books and professionals seeking career help in books will fuel industry growth. In addition, popularity of self-improvement books and a growing numbers of parents reading to their children will also benefit the market.

Key Segments

Growth in the professional information sector – encompassing legal, business and STM publications – is going strong, according to Global Industry Analysts. Moving forward, self-publishing is set to expand and larger companies will likely take over smaller outfits over the coming years.

Due to wider market penetration of electronic reading devices like tablet PCs and smartphones, the popularity of e-books is set to continue, with the digital publishing sector witnessing strong growth. Global Industry Analysts points to increased investment in adopting online and digital technologies and on-demand printing. One challenge to this sector involves content protection, with urgent need to implement an effective framework to avoid losing revenue.

The world’s e-book market is set to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.98% from 2016 to 2020 according to Technavio.

Regional Market Share

MarketLine estimates the European book industry decreased by -1.6% from 2011 to 2015 to reach over $36 billion.  Physical books make up 94.3% of total market value.

According to MarketLine, the Asia-Pacific book market exceeded $580 billion in 2015, with a yearly growth rate of 3.1% between 2011 and 2015.


MarketLine estimates that the book market in the US declined at a rate of 0.3% from 2011 to 2015 and was worth over $26 billion in 2015. Physical books made up 88% of the American market (over $23 billion). According to Plunkett, this market will have revenues close to $28 billion by 2023.

Market Outlook

Global Industry Analysts predicts the cultural importance of reading will prevent the industry’s demise. Digital publishing, online technologies and on-demand printing will help limit production costs, while the industry also benefits from new promotional strategies, distribution channels and evolving business models.

Leading Industry Associations

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Parent industry: Publishing
Related industries: Press

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