Russian Book Market: 2011 results and 2012 forecast

April 30, 2012

Russian Book Market

Reflecting some healthy economic indicators in Russia during 2011, the macroeconomic situation had a distinct impact on the current and forecasted outlook of the book industry. In brief the Russian economy was highlighted by the following features:

· The volume index of GDP in 2011 came to 104.3%, whilst the GDP deflator for 2011/2010 came to 115.4%;
· Overall industrial production in 2011 grew by 4.7%
· Export, import and investment in Russian economics grew by 31.8%, 32.0% and 6.2%, respectively
· Official inflation dropped by 6.1%
· Unemployment fell by 76.3% with respect to 2010
· A balanced budget with neither profit or deficit 
· However, real household income in 2011 increased by only 0.8% in comparison to the 5.1% increase in 2010

Such factors resulted in a small 3 – 8% increase in printed production output ranging across the various types of printed media.

Printed production output

Printed production

2011

In % to 2010

Books, booklets, etc (in mil printed sheets)

5767

103,1

Newspapers (nominal print run), bil copies

19,1

105,3

Magazines (in mil printed sheets)

8063

107,9

Source: Russian Statistical Agency

According to State statistics compiled by the Russian Book Chamber, the publishing business in the 2011 compared to the same period of 2010 showed a 0.35% increase in the total number of published book titles, about 86% of which are new titles.

The BIM research also shows that only 16.7% of publishers met their planned figures for book releases in 2011, mainly those from “small” publishing houses.

Russian Consumer Book Market

In spite of the growth in output reported by the Russian Statistical Agency, the book market decreased in value by 3.07% to $2.84 million compared to the previous year, whilst volume sales declined by 0.5%.

Total Russian Book Market Value and Volume, %

Book Market,.JPG

Source: Book Industry Magazine

The consumer book market last year was effected by the closure of a number of independent book stores and especially by the collapse of the biggest independent wholesaler Top Kniga with together with its in excess of 500 retail stores.

Other negative trends include:

· The book market is not considered as a likely choice for investment
· Mergers and acquisitions in the industry wie out small players and as result industry has become less flexible in addressing customers’ needs
· Profitability is decreasing in all segments of the value chain in the industry

The BIM divides the total market into broad categories (fiction, children, business, applied, educational/academic) and analyses percentage changes in retail sales in each sector. In 2011 BIM data show opposing trends in consumer purchasing. Volume sales decreased by 12.5% in adult fiction, 9.1% in business books, 2.2% in applied books, whilst purchasing increased in children’s and YA by 13,9% and in educational/academic by 11.5% compared to the previous year.

Early learning books and school textbooks remained the healthiest market niche. However, two other categories - educational/academic and children’s books - showed increase in year-to-year sales by 6.8% and 4.2% respectively. Sales of other book categories decreased in value from 1.8% to 5.2% from the previous year

Main book categories, 2011, % and % change vs 2010

Main Book Categories.JPG

Source: Book Industry Magazine

Currently, and with a total market share of 41,94% in value, the Top 5 publishers are «AST», «Eksmo», «Prosveschenie», «Drofa», and «Balass». AST and Eksmo are still at the top although with slightly worse figures than in 2010.

Market share, 2011

Publishers, share.JPG

Source: Book Industry Magazine

Bestselling authors differ in Moscow and in the regions in all book categories

ТОП -10 Fiction Authors, volume sales, 2011

Author/Project

Publisher

Author/Project

Publisher

Region

Moscow

1

Daria Dontsova

Eksmo

1

Ludmila Ulitskaya

Eksmo

2

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

AST

2

Viktor Pelevin

Eksmo

3

Alexandra Marinina

Eksmo

3

Boris Akunin

AST

4

Tatyana Ustinova

Eksmo

4

Alexandra Marinina

Eksmo

5

Tatyana Polyakova

Eksmo

5

Gabriel García Márquez

AST

6

Vladimir Vyssotski

Amphora

6

Mark Levi

Inostranka (Asbooka-Attikus)

7

Ekaterina Vilmont

AST

7

Zakhar Prilepin

AST

8

Boris Akunin

AST

8

Fransuaza Sagan

Eksmo

9

Julia Shilova

AST

9

Gregory David Roberts

Asbooka (Asbooka-Attikus)

10

Nik Perumov

Eksmo

10

Haruki Murakami

Eksmo

ТОП -10 Fiction novels, total volume sales, 2011 (Hardcover)

AuthorTitlePublisher

1

Alexandra Marinina

Death as an Art (Book 1&2)

Eksmo

2

Ludmila Ulitskaya

Green Tent

Eksmo

3

Alexandra Marinina

Personal Reasons (Book 1 & 2)

Eksmo

4

Tatyana Ustinova

From the Sky down to Earth

Eksmo

5

Boris Akunin

A Death in the Brotherhood. Novel-Film Series.

Astrel (AST)

6

Nik Perumov

Seven Bests of Raileg. A name of a Beast (Book 1& 2)

Eksmo

7

Tatyana Ustinova.

Uncut Pages

Eksmo

8

Haruki Murakami

1Q84.

Eksmo

9

Ekaterina Vilmont

A Girl with Pepper

AST

10

Fransuaza Sagan

Teardrops in R ed W ine

Eksmo

TOP-10 Non-Fiction (Business books), total volume sales, 2011

Author

Title

Publisher

1

Steven Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic,

Alpina Publisher

2

Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

AST

3

Mikhail Khodorkovski

Articles. Dialogs. Interview

Eksmo

4

Nikolai Starikov

Национализация рубля — путь к свободе России

Piter

5

Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Poppuri

6

Carmine Gallo

The Innovation Secrets Of Steve Jobs

MIF

7

Alexander Levin

Short Computer Handbook

Piter

8

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

CoLibri

9

Mikhail Poltoranin

The power in TNT equivalent. The legacy of Tsar Boris

Eksmo

10

Alexander Levin

Computer Handbook

Piter

To make up for falling sales publishers tend to increase their list prices. In 2011, BI data showed that the majority of book distributors (62.5%) noted a 15 to 25% increase and 25% of distributors acknowledged a 5 to 15% increase in list prices with only 12% of distributors remaining unaffected by the movement.

Simultaneously in 2011 the price of an average retail book decreased to 174.96 Roubles ($ 5.8) representing a decrease of 8% in value from the previous year. Regions of the RF showed a year on year drop of around 13.7%, especially marked in business books, applied and children’s books categories, whilst the Moscow witnessed a slight increase of 3.9% in retail prices. However, that positive trend was not offset by the official inflation rate of 6.1%.

In comparison to 2010, the increase in publishers’ list prices and consumer demand for cheaper books squeezed retail profits even further, forcing more independent stores out of the market.

At the beginning of 2011 the book distribution system in Russia underwent a dramatic change. The collapse of the biggest independent book chain “Top Kniga”, the increase in library budget, the freeze in average household income and the decrease in book-shelf space all contributed to a major shift in trade channels.

By the end of 2011 book chains lost 3% of market compared to the previous year which was the same as the independent book stores but worse than book clubs (-1%) and book markets (- 2%). On a positive note, libraries (+4%), supermarkets (+1%), internet trade (+2%), and newsstands (+2%) all showed a stronger performance.

Retail distribution channels, F2012

Channels.JPG

Source: Book Industry Magazine

Consumer expenditure

At the end of 2011 about 72.7% of retail booksellers reported a 5-10% average sale increase per customer. The retail around Moscow is better positioned with an average growth of 10-15%., whilst Far Eastern and Southern regions reported the fall in average purchases.

Average sale per customer, 2011, % and % vs 2010

AvSale Cust.JPG

Source: Book Industry Magazine

e-book market

According to the Association of Internet Publishers the major players in the Russian e-book market include a rights agency, two e-book retailers (LitRes and Imobilco), a cloud e-book service for the consumer market (Bookmate), ten e-libraries that provide educational and academic content to university libraries (Knigafund, University Library online, and Knorus being the largest amongst them) and a print-on-demand service ((Pubmix, aggressively launched in 2010).

Major e-book distributors

Number of titles in Russian, thousand

Formats

Dedicated reader

LitRes

60

fb2.zip, rtf.zip, a6.pdf, a4.pdf, html.zip, txt.zip, java, epub, Mobi.prc

LitRes Touch (since 2011)

OZON

14

fb2.zip, epub

OZON Galaxy (since 2010)

iMobilco

32

fb2.zip, epub

iBook (since 2009)

Source: Book Industry Magazine

According to e-book distributors, in 2011 there were an estimated 120-150 mil. Roubles ($4-5 mil.) of legal consumer e-books in Russia, representing only 10% of the total e-book consumption. Therefore piracy in the country is considered to be one of the major threats in the development of an e-book market.

Although experiencing rapid development, with an increase of 90% from the equivalent year 2010, e-books in 2011 constituted only 0.15-0.18% of the total book sales. However, total sales that include B2B sales of the e-library collections to University libraries amounted to 0.3% of the total book market in Russia with the weighted average growth of 80% vs 2010.

The price of the average e-book in Russia is significantly lower than the paper book copy.

Average p-book/e-book price

Country

Average p-book price, €

Average e-book price, €

%

UK

10,68

9,71

9

USA

11,33

10,13

11

France

19,93

15,80

21

Germany

16,35

12,66

23

Russia*

5,9

1,89**

212

Source : Global eBook Market Current Conditions and Future Projections (Rudiger Wischenbart), Average prices, in euros, for the top ten fiction bestsellers in the US, first week of September 2011 (Publishers Weekly, The Bookseller/Nielsen, Livres Hebdo/Ipsos, and Der Spiegel/buchreport).

* Source: Book Industry Magazine

** Average OZON, LitRes, iMobilco

The market for e-readers grew over 100% compared with the previous year. This has included devices with colour LCD screens but has excluded tablet PCs. Sales growth has been high due to decrease in prices. These sales were especially noticeable in the regional stores.

E-ink based devices have only increases by about 50% and the market leaders are Pocket Book (around 40% of market share), ONYX (around 15-20% of market share), followed on by DIGMA, Wexler, and Prestigio. iPad dominates the tablet PC sector controlling about 90% of the market, whilst Samsung, Acer, Asus etc accounts for about 10%.

Although not officially distributed in Russia the “grey” Amazon Kindle and Sony imports has a significant market share. Sony, which official release in Russia was announced in December 2012, is believed to catch up in popularity.

Forecast, 2012

In early 2012 Presidential elections were held in Russia. The cost of the promises made in the election and the most money-consuming programs will fell into the second half of the year. The resultant drop in purchasing power will offset a traditional upward swing in seasonal sales.

In January, 2012 experts from the Book Industry Magazine conducted a poll to ascertain the state of the book industry by the end of 2012. Experts agreed that sales of children’s books (mainly early learning), textbooks and handbooks for schools, esoteric, literary journalism and books in foreign languages will show a steady increase. Readers will be loosing interest in business/professional books, university textbooks, books on computing, and pulp fiction. Sales of the classics and modern fiction, fantasy, fiction for children and YA, and popular psychology will remain consistent.

The Book Industry Magazine estimates that by the end of 2012 the book market will show a further drop of 4.2% in the total number of copies produced whilst the actual number of titles themselves will increase by as little as 1.6%.

This indicates that Russian book publishing in 2012 has become more sustainable. Although it is to be noted that major trends will remain unchallenged, that is, the number of titles produced will increase, initial print runs will reduce further, book prices will be “frozen” and profitability will continue to decrease. Nevertheless it is likely that publishing will attract investment especially in technological related areas.