Last week GfK presented data on retail book sales in Brazil in 2012:
Compared to European countries, the price of Brazilian books does not differ greatly (when calculated in US$), although children’s and non-fiction titles are priced slightly higher (an average of US$22.40 compared to highest average of US$20.90 in Spain for non-fiction, and US$14.20 compared to highest of US$13.20 in Spain for children’s). The problem is that Brazil has an average per capita in come significantly lower than European countries, books are therefore relatively more expensive here. However, book retail in all the European countries surveyed (Spain, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Holland, Austria) are facing decline, save for Switzerland. Sales by units fell as much 14% in Spain between 2011 and 2012, and between 2–7% in other listed countries, over the same period. The presentation did not include data from US market.
The GfK research underscored minimal seasonal variation in book sales, thought there is proportionally small rise in purchases of foreign titles in December resulting from Holiday gift giving — the last quarter of 2012 represented 30% of sales for the entire year in volume. The first quarter of 2012, when the school year begins, represented 26% of total sales for the year, driven by educational titles. The 2nd and 3rd quarters represent 21 and 23% of sales, respectively.
In general, Brazilian book retail has long tail: in 2012, the ten best-selling books, according to GfK’s ranking, accounted for only 7% of sales by volume, and the top 20, only 9%.
Foreign literature presented the strongest growth in 2012, with a more significant increase from October onwards, pushed by the Fifty Shades publishing phenomenon. In December, foreign titles accounted for 31.2% of book sales, in volume, while in 2011 it was 22%. Another characteristic of foreign literature is a higher price point: 47% of the books are priced between US$15.30 and US$ 25.4, and 14% above US$25.40.
In 2012, sales of religious titles also increased, reaching a peak of 10.1% of retail sales on Mother’s Day (in volume), and ending the year at around 7% of the market. GfK’a list of bestsellers notes two books by Father Marcelo Rossi, Agape and Agapinho among top ten. In fact, the weight of the bestsellers is significant for the genre of religious books in general, with the ten best-selling religious books represent 32% of religious titles sales, in volume. It is also the genre with cheapest books.
Biographies also gained importance in 2012, mainly due to the evangelical Bishop Edir Macedo’s biography, which ended in 3rd place in GfK’s ranking of bestsellers In October, the genre represented 8.1% of retail sales in volume, ending the year at 4.3% (it was 4% in 2011). Here, again, the bestsellers are dominant, with the top 10 biographies accounting for 40% of sales of the genre in 2012.
Children’s and young adult books are the genres that show the most variation with the holidays, reaching peaks of 19.4% during the July holidays and Children’s Day, and 19.5% at Christmas. But here the bestsellers do not have much weight, with the top 30 best selling books of the genre representing just 16% of the sector. Despite the greater plurality of titles, the industry offers some top-selling franchises. The top 3 franchises represent 8.8% of industry sales.
Ultimately, Brazilian literature has shown a persistent, if somewhat limited, sales growth throughout the year, growing from 3.6% in January from retail to 4.4% in December 2012 (in 2011 the sector closed at 4%). The books are generally cheaper, only 5% of the titles by Brazilian authors are priced above US$ 25.4, with almost a third, 29%, priced cheaper than US$ 10.2.