The publishing industry in Germany - statistics & facts

The publishing industry in Germany looks back on several centuries of history. To reach back to an event which revolutionized book printing and subsequently paved the way for mass publishing in Europe as it is known, Germany is the home of the Gutenberg press, a printing press invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century. Nowadays the German publishing industry is incredibly varied and encompasses not only books, but also newspapers, magazines, e-books, audiobooks, and sometimes even games. Projected industry revenue for the 2020s is predicted to be stable at over 33 billion euros.

Book publishers

Among German fiction and non-fiction publishing houses, the three leading players were Random House, Bastei Lübbe and Carlsen. Random House is part of the international publishing group Penguin Random House. In turn, it includes 47 other publishing companies and is among the most successful publishing companies on a national level in Germany. The Bastei Lübbe group is actually a media company existing in the form of a trade publisher. All three houses publish books in a variety of genres, as well as audiobooks, e-books and other digital media, though Carlsen is known in particular for its children's and young adult literature. In 2019, the German book trade generated an estimated 9.29 billion euros in revenue.

Newspapers and magazines

One of the challenges confronting the newspaper market and, consequently, publishers, is falling circulation, with daily newspapers suffering year after year. A growing number of newspaper publishers in Germany offer paid content accessible online, which reflects the fact that selling printed copies alone is no longer enough to ensure profitability. Daily newspapers were still among the most popular newspaper categories in Germany, with reach amounting to almost 54 percent in 2019. Leading German publishing groups printing newspapers include Stuttgarter Zeitung, Axel Springer and Funke Media.

Some of the best-known magazine publishers in Germany are (also) Axel Springer, Hubert Burda and Gruner + Jahr. Consumer magazines typically make up a large share of magazine sales and have a high reach, though German bestsellers also include news heavyweights such as Der Spiegel. However, just like newspapers, numerous titles on the German magazine market record quarterly circulation losses.

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Publishing industry in Germany

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Books and e-books

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