Pick up a book and read!

Reading a book is like accessing a whole new world – one where you can let your imagination run wild with all the possibilities that the written word offers. With changes to our social lives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be spending more time at home – so why not make the most of it? Expand your horizons and learn something new by picking up a book!

The price of books in the EU is growing more slowly than total consumer prices, as measured by the monthly Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP). Between June 2011 and June 2021, the price of books increased by 12 %, compared with 14 % for total consumer prices.

Data on the prices of different genres of books are available from December 2016. The price of books in general has risen by 4 % from December 2016 to June 2021, with the price of e-book downloads (and binding services) rising by 12 %. The price of fiction books was also up nearly 6 % in this period. In contrast, the price of educational textbooks has fallen by almost 2 %.

In 2020, exports of printed books to countries outside the EU amounted to EUR 1.7 billion and the corresponding imports to almost EUR 1.5 billion.

Over the last decade, the exports and imports of books to countries outside the EU remained fairly stable without significant fluctuations. 2010 and 2020 revealed the same level for both exports (EUR 1.7 billion) and imports (EUR 1.5 billion). Compared with 2019, there was a decrease in 2020 of 12 % for exports and 6 % for imports.

The main EU countries exporting and importing books in 2020 were Germany, which exported books for EUR 535 million and imported for EUR 284 million, France, which exported books for EUR 291 million and imported for EUR 220 million, and Spain, which exported books for EUR 183 million and imported for EUR 147 million.

In 2020, EUR 4.6 billion worth of printed books were sold in the EU. Compared with 2008, there was a decrease of 35 % from EUR 7.0 billion. When compared with 2019, there was also a decrease of 15 % from EUR 5.4 billion.

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