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Market overview Brazil: Slump with a glimmer of hope?

According to the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics (IBOPE), Brazilians read 4.7 books per year and buy 1.2 books every twelve months. Children’s book publisher Miriam Gabbai (Callis Editora) has thus launched the following call to action: “We must reach more readers, also in the more educated layers of the population”. Gabbai, who will speak at the conference THE MARKETS on Tuesday, 18 October 2016, sees the development of distribution structures as one solution. According to her, currently there are only 3,095 bookshops in Brazil. Even the major city of Sao Paolo, with its population of 12 million, has to make do with just 335 retail booksellers – the equivalent of one bookstore for every 35,000 inhabitants. UNESCO recommends a ratio of 1 to 10,000.

The ongoing economic crisis is continuing to affect the Brazilian book market. Following a decline in sales of over 5% in 2014, the past year saw an additional decrease of almost 3.3%. Rising book prices (between 8 and 11%) across all market segments have prevented a more drastic decline. The government – traditionally the main customer for Brazil’s book production – accounts for a good quarter of the total sales of 1.49 billion euros. This is due to various educational campaigns and programmes, which guarantee the acquisition of educational materials by the state for textbook publishers in particular.

In 2015, the number of new releases dropped by 10.39% over the previous year (17,282, compared to 19,285 in 2014), with the general titles segment showing the sharpest decline with over 20%. A total of 389,274,495 copies were sold in 2015, representing a decrease of almost 11% over 2014.

The main distribution channels continue to be traditional bookshops and the wholesale book trade, with a total market share of almost 70%. In third place, with almost 10%, is the door-to-door sale of books through “mobile bookshops”, which bring no fewer than almost 25 million books to individuals.

The economic crisis has also resulted in a slight drop in German licenses to Brazil. In 2010, Brazil was still the most important country for German publishers on the American continent, ranking ahead of the USA with 157 licensing agreements (compared to 148 for the USA). In recent years, this relationship has shifted in favour of the USA: in 2015, Brazil fell behind the USA in the rankings of the most important trading countries for German publishers on the American continent, with 124 licenses granted (compared to 215 for the USA).

Yet publisher Miriam Gabbai also hopes to see a positive impact in this area: “The devaluation of the Brazilian currency may increase the price of foreign rights acquisitions, but at the same time acquiring rights to Brazilian literature is becoming significantly more affordable for international publishers”.

The Brazilian e-book market is continuing its dynamic growth

E-books represent a bright spot, with the Brazilian e-book market continuing its dynamic growth. Following a significant jump in sales of 35.5% the previous year, in 2015 sales rose by an additional 20% over 2014 to 5.8 million euros. Last year, a total of 1,264,517 titles were sold – also a decent increase (4.2%) over the previous year (2014: 1,213,062).

The general conditions for a continued upswing are good. With estimated sales of 19 million US dollars, Brazil is currently the tenth-largest e-commerce market in the world. More than half of the population uses the internet, almost 50 million people own a smartphone and 10 million a tablet computer. Currently, 86.5 million users use various social networks, a number that is expected to reach almost 100 million by 2018. High import duties on e-readers and tablets represent one of the most significant obstacles to this progress.

Overview of the Brazilian book market (2015)
Sales: 1.491 billion euros
Publishers: 500
Total print run: 446,848,571 copies
Copies sold: 389,274,495
Titles/year: 52,427
Bookshops: 3,095
Literacy rate: 86 per cent

WHITE PAPER: 7 DYNAMIC PUBLISHING MARKETS IN 2016, Hannah Johnson and Erin L. Cox, Publishing Perspectives for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s 2016 THE MARKETS: GLOBAL PUBLISHING SUMMIT


Following its successful premiere in 2015, this year, THE MARKETS, the conference to kick off the Frankfurt Book Fair, will once again turn the spotlight on seven different book and media markets on the Tuesday before the fair. The markets that will be examined in 2016 are:

Flanders & the Netherlands
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom

On Tuesday, 18 October 2016, important publishers, strategists and industry experts from these countries will present their markets and offer analyses, visions, professional contacts and personal tips. The one-day conference is organised by the Frankfurt Book Fair in cooperation with the US trade magazine Publishing Perspectives.

For tickets and further information please visit: in a new window).
Please note that our early bird offer is in effect until 31 August 2016.

About the Frankfurt Book Fair
The Frankfurt Book Fair is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with 7,100 exhibitors from more than 100 countries, around 275,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and approximately 10,000 accredited journalists – including 2,000 bloggers - in attendance. It also gathers key players from other media, including the film and games industries. Since 1976, the Book Fair has featured an annual Guest of Honour country, which showcases its book market, literature and culture to attendees in a variety of ways. The Frankfurt Book Fair organises the participation of German publishers at around 20 international book fairs and hosts trade events throughout the year in major international markets. With its Business Club, the Frankfurt Book Fair offers essential services and an ideal setting for the activities of publishers, entrepreneurs, pioneers, experts and visionaries. The Frankfurt Book Fair is a subsidiary of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association. in a new window)

Contact for the media:
Press & Corporate Communications, Frankfurt Book Fair
Katja Böhne, Vice President Marketing & Communications, tel.: +49 (0) 69 2102-138, in a new window)
Kathrin Grün, PR manager, Tel.: +49 (0) 69 2102-170, in a new window)
> Press information online >
> Photos in print quality >

THE MARKETS 2016(opens in a new window)