Spanish Book Sector

An Expert's View about Publishing Services in Spain

Posted on: 15 Feb 2010

Spanish Market Summary on Books

Publishing is an important sector for the Spanish economy which sales revenue is reported at USD 4.5 billion. More than 70,520 titles were published and 250 million copies sold in 2007. The sector employs over 15,000 direct employees. In general, foreign publishers sell the rights for their publications to major publishers that take care of translation, printing, publication and distribution. In rare cases, if the books are sold in the original version, they are imported through large distributors.


There are approximately 150 book distributors with a total of 33,000 sales outlets. Of these outlets (bookstores, bookstore chains and hypermarkets), 5,000 specialize in books.


In Spain, the total annual sales for books during the year increased by 3.9 percent to USD 4.5 billion. Exports were reported at USD 814 million for 2007, a 0.38 percent decrease over the previous year. In terms of exports of books from Spain, the European Union and Latin America account for over 90 percent of exports and the United States comes third with 4 percent of exports valued at USD 35 million. Imports of books to Spain for 2007 were reported at USD 359 million of which approximately USD 7.5 million came from the United States. The United Kingdom is the main supplier of imported books (40 percent).


The main retail channels are still privately held and franchise owned bookstores, which together account for 47 percent of the country´s total sales. Although, privately held bookstores sales declined by 1 percent to USD 1.4 billion, the sales by franchise owned bookstores increased by 4.5 percent.


There are no custom duties levied on the import of bound books in Spain. The only tax applied is a 4 percent VAT (Value Added Tax), known in Spain as IVA (Impuesto Valor Añadido), which applies to books and books containing material on CD-ROM. The standard VAT for consumer goods is 16 percent and the importer pays this tax on the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value.


Entering the Spanish market might require adapting some U.S. products to local standards and content, particularly for English as a foreign language books. Partnering with a local, major player or establishing an in-country presence is highly desirable.


By Josefina Ortega

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Posted: 15 February 2010