Sales in the book trade were 2.3 percent below the previous year. The Corona year hit stationary retail particularly hard. A decrease of almost nine percent was recorded here.
Frankfurt – The second lockdown with renewed annual closings weighed on the annual balance sheet of the German book trade last year. The sales backlog from the shutdown in the spring could be reduced month by month, as the industry monitor published on Thursday shows. However, the renewed store closings in mid-December, the period with the highest turnover, resulted in a negative annual result. According to the information, sales in 2020 in the central sales channels such as retail bookselling, e-commerce, train station bookshops or department stores were 2.3 percent below the previous year. The stationary business, which was particularly affected by the Corona measures, closed the year with a minus of 8.7 percent.
Reading played an outstanding role in the crisis, said Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, head of the German book trade association. The demand for books was high. But “the renewed store closings in the middle of the Christmas business stopped the race to catch up, with which the book trade almost managed to compensate for the losses from the shutdown in spring,” says Schmidt-Friderichs. In view of the decision to continue the lockdown and the ongoing store closings, the industry will “start the year with a massive loss.”
The prospects for publishers and bookstores are uncertain. Most bookstores reportedly offer contactless pick-up of ordered books during closings. Only in Saxony is this not allowed. “We urge the government of Saxony to follow suit,” said Schmidt-Friderichs. “The pick-up service is essential for bookstores to cushion the damage caused by the closings.”