Saturday 01 April 2023

Dutch fiction sales fall as English language books take up the slack

Book sales surpassed the pandemic peak in 2022 but the market for Dutch language books has shrunk, latest figures from book promotion organisation CPNB have shown.

Some 43.2 million books, including e-books were sold last year, taking total sales to €664 million. The sale of Dutch language books went down by 3%, however, while Dutch fiction sales fell by 10%.

The increase in sales is down mainly to the popularity of books in other languages, the CPNB said, with books in English taking the lion’s share of 20%.

English language books are popular because young people in the Netherlands grow up with English, for instance, on social media, Zwolle bookshop owner Caroline Bosch told broadcaster NOS.

‘After years of declining teen and young adult readership, we’re just glad they’re reading in any language,’ Lynn Kaplanian-Buller, director of the American Book Center, told Dutch News.

‘Our new little store in the big mall in Leidschendam appeals especially to young readers, to our surprise,’ she said.

Physical bookshops look like they are recuperating from the blow dealt by the pandemic restrictions, the CPNB said. They sold some 24.5 million books in 2022, up 16% from 2021.

Online sales declined by over 10% but libraries did much better. Some 51 million physical books and audio books were borrowed this year, 34% more than during the pandemic.

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