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'Lockdown year' sees e-book sales take off in Spain
20 April 2021 @ 20:41

SALES of e-books in Spain rocketed by 43% last year, and fiction was the most popular type, according to one of the country's leading distributors.

Libranda deals in audio books and e-books, so it was not able to reveal to what extent 'traditional' paper books sold last year – although high-street book shops were closed during the three-month lockdown and their hours have been restricted in the past few months, many continued to sell these online, via their own websites or via Amazon, particularly national chains. 

Based upon data from 2019, sales of e-books in Spanish soared worldwide by 37%, said managing director of Libranda, Arantza Larrauri – an increase she called 'extraordinary' and 'the biggest in recent times'.

In general, electronic versions of books which had been out for some time captured about 7.3% of e-reader users, although this would rise to between 15% and 20% in the case of new releases and some brand-new, often eagerly-awaited titles broke the 40% barrier.

Not including academic textbooks, the Spanish-language e-book market last year reached €115.7 million worldwide, of which Spain accounted for 65%, or €75m; México for 11.2%, and the USA for 9%.

In terms of growth rather than numbers, Uruguay, Ecuador, Perú and Guatemala were ahead of Spain.

The bulk of the market was shared between mainstream international platforms such as Amazon, Google and Apple – a 77.8% market share, representing a growth of 35.5% in 2020 – although smaller independent platforms, including those run by book stores themselves, noticed a rise of 40.9%, with their overall market share totalling 11.4% or, in Spain, 14%.

Borrowing of e-books from libraries took 5.1% of the market, increasing in financial value by 63.7%, and e-reader platform subscriptions taken out rose by 36.2%.

Works of fiction continue to be the most popular, representing 60.7% of the overall cost in euros, with about a quarter being contemporary fiction, crime and detective novels 13.3%, and romance novels 9.9%.

Top Spanish authors bought in e-book format were Juan Gómez Jurado (Madrid), Elísabet Benavent (Valencia), and German-born Megan Maxwell – real name María del Carmen Rodríguez, whose mother is from Toledo, father is from the USA, and who grew up in Germany before moving to Madrid as a young adult.



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