March 8, 2021

The online sale of books soars in Spain



No crisis is good and the current one is not either, in health, especially, and, later, in economic terms. But it can also be an opportunity for the public to discover something that they generally did not pay much attention to and seems self-evident. Not only supermarkets and large technology giants have pages to buy products through the internet. The chains of bookstores and independent or neighborhood bookstores also have a similar website. All of them have this service and Readers should know that they can continue to purchase books just as they always have and as they did before the booksellers had to drop the shutter as a result of the coronavirus.

In fact, throughout these few days of confinement, as confirmed to this newspaper, Online sales, that is, the physical purchase of a work, have doubled. So even if bookstores are closed, readers can still trust and support their regular bookseller, especially at this key time, by purchasing titles through their store.. It is true that these sales are not going to replace one hundred by one hundred those that were made in stores, because the starting figures are not as high as could be assumed beforehand, but it can help to mitigate the blow at an essential moment and in some cases were significant. As we have been able to know in some specialized bookstore it supposes almost 30 percent of what they sell. In other cases, unfortunately it is not just appreciable, but, even they have noticed that they are growing. An example of this trend is in neighboring Italy. There, online sales have increased by 70 percent. A hopeful fact in a situation that has few chances for optimism. Especially since, due to the duration, it can also establish a consumption habit and perpetuate itself later on. Although maybe this is being too optimistic beforehand.

This same path has taken the electronic book. In Spain it only accounted for five percent of the market, as in the rest of Europe (in the United States, before falling, it was only 15 percent). But now, as several editorials have commented to this newspaper, The “ebook” has grown significantly in this short period of quarantine, although it is still too early to put a figure on the table.

Increased piracy

All digital consumption has risen these days and with it, unfortunately, “piracy”. In 2018, digital book consumers who went to legal channels was an 11 by the way; in 2017, only a ten, because readers, as polls indicate, still like the role. In front of these figures is the 24 percent that accessed the pirate market. The worst thing is that precisely this year that percentage has risen, although there is still no precise data, according to La Razón. This situation, in fact, may cause “piracy” to pick up.

To counter this trend, large publishing groups and independents have launched their strategies. All the stamps have expanded their e-book catalog and also offer free works to promote reading so that no addict to the printed word has to resort to the “pirate” market.. One of the problems is that one out of every two Internet users is unaware that they are accessing an illegal product, because, they argue, they do not differentiate one “pirate” platform from another that is legal. That is why many publishers, in addition to the network of libraries, which have put all their bibliographic and cinematographic collections open on the net, have counterattacked by promoting their “ebooks” or campaigning for their novelties so that they can be purchased online. According to some estimates, the losses for the culture sector this quarter may amount to 3,000 million. This area employs about 704,300 workers, which is 3.5% of the country, and supposes 3 percent of the GDP. One way, they warn from this sector, to avoid unemployment is for people to become aware and go to the legal offer and abandon “piracy”.

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