Russian book market
E. L. James. Fifty shades of grey
Archimandrite Tikhon. Everyday Saints and other Stories
It is fair to say that e-books have been popular in Russia amongst readers but, interestingly, not so much amongst publishers so far. According to various estimates over 20 million people in Russia read e-books with computers still remaining the main device for e-book reading. Amongst portable devices dedicated e-readers are the first choice of reader (56%) followed on by smartphones and mobile phones (25%) and also PC tablets.
The popularity of e-reading can be attributed to the limited number of independent book stores in Russia, around 3000 stores, and the difficulties of distributing books physically throughout the vast Russian territory. The adoption of e-reading by users has been helped by the recent availability of relatively cheap reading devices and wide spread 3G internet.
Russian Consumer Book Market
In 2012 the consumer book market in Russia continues to fall. It is estimated that by the end of the year its value in Roubles will have decreased by 4.88% (around 11% in US dollars provided the exchange rate remains the same) and there will be just under a 10% drop in the number of copies.
• 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
Is it really that simple? If nowadays publishers can get easy access to their potential readers through new means of communication, why is it that the number of readers has been gradually decreasing worldwide? And another question is whether those who surf online actually read books? These issues are certainly relevant for Russia. Let see what publishers can do to retain those who know the taste of good read.
By the end of 2011 it is most probable that the Russian book market will decline by 7.2% dropping to $2.7 billion. It has been hit, like most industries, by the global economic downturn and problems specific only to the Russian book industry. Possibly, this negative trend will continue into 2012 which may show a further 5% decline in both value and number of copies sold.
Every 6 months the Book Industry Magazine prepares a report entitled “Book Market of the Russian Federation”, which contains timely information on the book industry’s performance in the previous period.
In 2010 the industry was greatly affected by the general economic climate and some 85% of Russian publishers exceeded the rate of inflation in the non-food products group, which accounts for some 5% according to the Federal State Statistics Service. By the end of 2010 the average increase in book price was between 5 and 15% and with higher rates not being uncommon.