The Belgian book market is still in decline, but gradually slowing down following a decline of -1,3% in the third and a growth of 0,9% in the fourth quarter.
After consecutive losses in the first (-7,5%) and second (-5%) quarter, and a status quo in the third, the Flemish book market revives in the ever so important fourth quarter by growing a steady 2,7%.
This Q4 growth was made possible due to an increase in the sales of Children’s books (+7%), Fiction (+9,3%), but mainly in Non-Fiction/Leisure (+13,6%). As a counterpart to this success, Comic Books (-17,6%) and Non Fiction/Informative (-6,5%) are struggling hard.
The highly anticipated Dutch translation of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the ongoing cookbooks clash between Jeroen Meus and Pascale Naessens drive a strong sales performance in New Release, growing 7,6% compared with last year.
In Wallonia, the total book sales turnover in the fourth quarter maintains a status quo compared with 2015. Children’s books sales and consequently the release of the French version of the latest Harry Potter, are solely responsible, with a growth of 13,6%.
Unlike in Flanders, both Fiction (-2%) and Non-Fiction (-0,3%) continue their downfall in Q4. Comic Books decline as well, but less decisive than in Flanders, by “only” 3,9%.
Also, the New Release/Catalogue rate in Walloon book sales seems further alienating from the Flemish rate: from 27/73 in Q4 2015 into a current 28/82 (compared to a steady 22/78 in Flanders).
Conrad Hayen – Business Analyst Media & Entertainment