After dropping below $120 billion in 2020, the global book market revenue is estimated to have reached pre-pandemic levels again in 2021. According to data from our Advertising & Media Market Outlook, the physical book segment is even expected to trump 2019 numbers in the coming years.
As our chart shows, the growth potential in the book market is largely based on future developments concerning printed products. For example, 2023 is expected to see global revenues of $112 billion in this specific segment, the highest amount since 2017. While this forecast will likely need to be adjusted due to the rising paper prices in European countries, the growth in the eBook sector will likely not be impacted in either direction. Apart from the coronavirus slump, digital book publishing revenues grew relatively steady over the last couple of years, with gains hovering around $500 million and $1 billion.
The largest revenue streams are relegated to a relatively narrow field, as data from Publishers Weekly suggests. In 2019, the three largest publishing companies in terms of revenue were RELX Group, Thomson Reuters and Pearson, all of which focus on scientific, educational and highly specialized trade literature. The only company in the top five offering a more diversified lineup of prose, poetry and non-fiction imprints is Germany-based Bertelsmann, which generated $4.2 billion in 2019.