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Bookwire and Rüdiger Wischenbart publish Digital Consumer Book Barometer 2021

  • The first of two parts of the Digital Consumer Book Barometer is dedicated to digital book markets in the DACH region, Brazil, Italy and Canada, as well as Mexico and Spain
  • The key topics covered are digital growth during the pandemic, shifts in pricing strategies and the expansion of complementing business models (subscription, streaming, libraries)

Frankfurt a. M., 24 June 2021: the Digital Consumer Book Barometer (DCBB) gives detailed insights into the book market and its digital business development in 2020. The first part looks at three key developments in the digital book markets: digital growth in the book industry during the year of the pandemic, shifts in pricing strategies and customers’ price preferences and the increased consumption of digital books via subscription platforms and digital lending services/offers from libraries. The Digital Consumer Book Barometer, published by consultant Rüdiger Wischenbart was created in cooperation with digital publishing technology company Bookwire. The report is based on data collected from Bookwire, DeMarque, edigita, Libranda and readbox.

Continued growth in digital revenue and e-commerce during the year of the pandemic

Closures of bookshops and many other establishments in spring 2020, along with the rise of working from home, resulted in massive growth in digital consumption of all kinds of books. According to Rüdiger Wischenbart, “Audiobooks had a breakthrough year in 2020 in many ways and in many different markets”. This trend became particularly apparent in the second quarter of 2020 and the development is even clearer in Spain and Mexico than it is on the German market. The DCBB gives detailed explanations of these and other observations of different formats and markets and discusses them in the context of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Adapted pricing strategies mean new sales groups for audiobooks and eBooks

DCBB also focuses on sales generated with eBooks and audiobooks on the various different markets and how they have evolved over the past years. The report looks at trends in pricing strategies and preferences on the respective markets. Very low eBook prices of less than 2.99 EUR played a much smaller role in the DACH region in 2020 than in previous years. By contrast, a clear increase in units sold was observed in the mid-range price segment from 4-5.99 EUR, as well as in the 11-11.99 EUR segment – the share of eBook revenues in this popular price segment above the “10 EUR threshold” also increased greatly in comparison with the previous year.  

Subscription business models popular

The third development in the digital book markets outlined in the DCBB can be seen in the increased consumption of digital books – i.e. eBooks and audiobooks – through subscription platforms and digital lending services/offers from libraries. On all of the markets mentioned, this is reflected in clear growth in subscription models and associated higher sales volumes among eBook and audiobook providers. Looking at the two Spanish-language markets, we can see that “the surge in digital however seems to hint at new audiences that could be reached during the pandemic, which can be seen as a trend that might be both promising and lasting”, according to Wischenbart. At the same time, audiobook consumption was further accelerated on all markets because more consumers than ever before were supplementing their digital (download) purchases with different forms of subscriptions and streaming.  

Part two of the DCBB will be published in September of this year. It will examine in depth trends in different genre categories and analyse the on-going trends into the 1st quarter of 2021 in order to investigate the longer lasting effects on digital book consumption.

Download the Digital Consumer Book Barometer 2021 (PDF):       

About Bookwire & “Bookwire OS – One Solution”
Bookwire GmbH was founded in Frankfurt in 2010 as a service provider for publishers’ distributors of eBooks and digital content. Since then, it has become one of the leading international businesses in the digital publishing technology sector. Bookwire currently employs 100 members of staff in Germany, the UK, Spain, Brazil, Mexico and the USA, who look after more than 2,000 publishers in the areas of eBooks, audiobooks, podcasts and Print-on-Demand. The pioneering software “Bookwire OS – One Solution”, launched in 2019, has been used to deliver, analyse and market 500,000 eBooks and 100,000 audiobooks in all relevant distribution channels. In addition to the latest customer analytics and pricing technology, publishing clients of Bookwire GmbH also have access to individual support from account & marketing managers who continually look after the clients. The audiobook production solution “We Audiobook You” (WAY) earned the business the first “Digital Publishing Award” in the field of B2B solutions in 2019. Bookwire GmbH is managed by its founders Jens Klingelhöfer and John Ruhrmann, and has branches in Barcelona (Spain), London (UK), Mexico City (Mexico), São Paulo (Brazil) and New York (USA), in addition to the company headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and the “Digital Hub” in Dortmund (Germany).

Contact for media enquiries, images and further information:  
Bookwire Laika Communications GmbH
Oranienburger Straße 27
10117 Berlin
Tel: +49 152 591 142 82