In 2020, books avoided the crisis … and some publishers filled their coffers

We remember the astonishment of the booksellers when the first and then the second confinement arranged the books on the side of the goods “Non-essential”. Petitions demanding that Amazon financially support small businesses; forums recalling the importance of literature in our lives; booksellers calling for resistance on Facebook… However, when it comes time to take stock of the year 2020 for the book world, everything indicates that the French have decided to make it a good thing “Essential”.

According to the Bookstore Observatory, managed by the Syndicat de la librairie française (SLF), the overall activity of the profession fell by 3.3% compared to 2019. After three months of administrative closure, we could expect much worse! This catching up is explained, according to the union, by “A very massive return of readers to bookstores following the two periods of confinement: + 32% in June, + 35% in December”. Note that the Bookstore Observatory brings together 368 independent bookstores and represents a good third of the profession’s turnover (390 million euros).

The GfK panelist, which takes into account the entire book market, supermarkets and online sales included, has not yet publicly communicated its 2020 balance sheet. But, according to our information, he would estimate this decline at only 2%. Very reassuring overall figures therefore. But which hide very different realities.

Big bookstores penalized

On the bookstore side, they are

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