2013

BOOK SALES IN HUNGARY IN 2013
(At retail prices)

 

At the end of the last year, the Hungarian government centralized the distribution of public-school textbooks to schools, and put this task into the hands of a single state-owned company (Könyvtárellátó Nonprofit Kft.). Then, by the end of 2013, textbook publishing was also nationalized, and thus, the market of public-school textbooks was declared to be closed. With these actions the government reduced the Hungarian book market by 26.24%. (Last year, the turnover from public-school textbooks was EUR 53,771,285, which is 2.9% lower than the turnover of 2012 at EUR 54,974,594).

 

The above figures, and all the figures in this document were converted from HUF to EUR by using the central exchange rate of the respective years: HUF 289 in 2012 and HUF 296 in 2013.

 

Without public-school textbooks, the turnover of the free circulation of the book market in 2013 was EUR 148,562,435, which means a nominal increase of 4.63% compared to the 2012 turnover (again, without public-school textbooks) of EUR 145,431,166. (Just for comparison, if we include textbooks, the total turnover of 2012 was EUR 200,786,201, and in 2013, EUR 201,425,422, which means a nominal increase of 2.75%.)

 

Given that last year's official inflation rate was 1.7%, the actual increase of the book market (including textbooks) at retail prices was only 1%. The actual increase of the book market (without the textbooks) above inflation was 2.9%.

 

The most interesting statistical development of 2013 is that now, with the exclusion of the segment of public-school textbooks, the market segment with the biggest turnover turned out to be belles-lettres, more specifically, literary fiction. The gross turnover of this segment in 2013 was  EUR 46,496,479, making up 31.3% of the total turnover of the book market. Thanks to the increasing interest of the consumers for recreational literature (i.e. bestsellers), the growth rate of this segment was an exceptional 16.7%. (In 2012, the turnover of the segment was EUR 40,806,726.)

 

The gross turnover of the popular science books segment in 2013 was EUR 44,933,290, 30.25% of the total turnover of the market. This means a decrease of 10.09% compared to the turnover of 2012, which was EUR 51,183,508.

 

Given the decreasing tendency of the previous years, there is a marked change in the segment of specialist books, scientific books, encyclopaedias, dictionaries and other publications used in higher education. In 2013, the gross turnover of this segment was EUR 19,158,364, 12.9% of the total turnover of the market. In 2012, the gross turnover of the segment was EUR 18,263,553. This means an increase of 7.44%. (However, the 10% decrease in the turnover of the popular science segment and the 7.44% increase in this segment is in need of some explanation. Besides the uncertainty in the categorization of these books, many publisher reclassified a part of its turnover in the popular science segment to this segment in order to receive compensational reprographic fees, which are paid for specialist books and scientific books, but not for popular science titles.)

 

Consumer interest in the segment of children's books and youth fiction showed a spectacular growth again in 2013 – not surprisingly: this segment was already the most dynamically growing on the Hungarian book market in the previous years. The gross turnover of this segment in 2013 was 23.6% of the total turnover of the market: EUR 35,059,550. This means an increase of 7.76% compared to the 2012 turnover of EUR 33,323,903. To clearly show just how dynamic this segment is: in the last 10 years, the turnover of this segment actually doubled.

 

The import of foreign language books showed a decrease again in 2013. Compared to the turnover of 2012 at EUR 11,891,453, the gross turnover in 2013 was EUR 11,345,202. This means a decrease of 2.28%.

 

In recent years, we tried to separate the turnover of paper books and the turnover of books published on other media in our statistical questionnaire (developed by the instructions of KSH (Central Statistical Office) and used in the last 20 years). The turnover of "digital" and e-books in 2012 reached EUR 1,853,474. In 2013, the gross turnover of this segment was EUR 2,914,750, meaning an increase of 61.07%. This segment is now nearing two percent of the total turnover of the book market with an exact percentage of 1.96%.

 

In order to compile the statistics of the book market turnover of 2013, we used the statistical data report of 188 Hungarian publishing companies. By our estimate, the turnover of half-price books in 2013 was around EUR 270,270, and the estimated turnover of those publishers and institutions who only publish a couple of titles a year was around EUR 168,918.

 

Concentration in the Hungarian publishing sector showed some decrease in 2013:

 

In 2013, 15 enterprises produced 56.4% of publishers' total sales;
the 41 market-leading publishers produced 73.36% of all book sales;
the 54 market-leading publishers produced 77.65% of all book sales;
the 188 publishers supplying data produced 87.44% of all book sales (this number in 2012 was 91.84%).

 

The market position of foreign-owned publishers operating in Hungary has kept declining. In 2012, they achieved sales amounting to EUR 43,329,044 or 21.58 % of all book sales. In 2013, this number was EUR 16,833,030 or 8.36% of all book sales.