For the first time, virtual bookstores surp physical ones in earnings in Brazil

For the first time in history, exclusively virtual bookstores have surped physical ones in publishers’ revenue. This is what the 2023 Brazilian Publishing Sector Production and Sale Survey, carried out by the National Union of Book Editors (Snel) and the Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL), with verification by Nielsen BookData.

The survey is the longest running in the sector in Brazil and Latin America and was based on last year’s data, informed by publishers. According to the conclusions, virtual bookstores like Amazon had a 35.2% growth in publisher revenues in 2022. In 2021, they represented 30%. The participation of physical bookstores fell from 30% to 26.6%.

The results pointed to a 2.6% decline in overall revenue, if corrected for inflation. The reduction, however, was smaller than that of the previous year, recorded at 4%. O total revenue was BRL 5.5 billion – two-thirds represent sales to the market and the remainder to the government.

Mariana Bueno, economist at Nielsen BookData, explains that the negative impact of government purchases is also a result of payments that were not made. “The government divides the payment throughout the year, and paid very little of the PNLD 2023, contracted in 2022”, she said.

The highlight also goes to the Book fairs and biennials, which appeared for the first time among the main sales channels of publishers, representing the 1% share. In 2021, the share had been just 0.1%.

Revenue from digital content, which included e-books and audiobooks, reached a representative growth of 35%. According to the survey, this was driven by the 69% increase in revenue from virtual libraries and the insertion of the educational books subsector.

E-books still represent 79% of revenue share with digital, while audiobooks reach 21%. The highlight of the category are non-fiction books, such as biographies and self-help, which represent 80% of revenues from subscriptions. The share of digital content, however, is only 6% of the Brazilian publishing market.

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