With Romania’s overall book market valued at around EUR 100 million ($124 million), on-line book buying is expected to grow as much as 20% this year, with books the third most popular online purchase.
In an interview with Business Review, Laura Teposu, director of business development at Libros.ro, one of Romania’s leading online booksellers, estimated overall growth in the country’s book market at 5% this year, suggesting headwinds for bricks and mortar stores. Libros posted a EUR 6.7 million turnover, seeing sales increase each year, and January 2018 sales were up 40% on January 2017.
Teposu believes there should be
more communication between readers and writers,
and to this end is running ‘Author of the Month’ campaigns
designed to bring contemporary Romanian authors closer to the public by means of interviews and promotions of their works.
Libros also organizes an annual book fair in Brasov, next scheduled for April.
This year Libros is running a year long ‘Respect Yourself’ campaign with the message,
gift yourself the time to read.
In more developed countries, people read more, and this is not necessarily correlated with purchasing power. If we don’t read, our wealth will not increase either, because the level of education is correlated with a country’s development.
One of the challenges of publishers in smaller markets is the influx of “foreign” (mostly US and UK) books translated for the market. Around the world children are often as likely to be reading JK Rowling or Roald Dahl as books by domestic authors.
Teposu sees no conflict there.
We want to promote the idea that young readers should get more access to contemporary authors. We do have our classics, which we love. But we also believe that by allowing young people to get to know the works of Roald Dahl, J.K Rowling or C.S Lewis, for instance, alongside those of Mihail Sadoveanu and Liviu Rebreanu, we can encourage them to read more than the books included on the ‘compulsory reading’ list and enjoy reading more.
Libros is spending EUR 100,000 on its Respect Yourself campaign and EUR 3 million on a new warehouse in Brasov, to be 200% bigger than the current storage. The new warehouse will be able to accommodate 3 million books plus other goods that will be sold in store.
While Teposu estimates 20% growth for online books, she expects Libros to see 30% growth this year thanks to sales of toys, games and other products alongside.
With Amazon pretty much ignoring the eastern Europe markets, there is plenty of room for growth for Libros, both with books and other online sales.
Libros doesn’t sell ebooks, which represent only about 5% of the book market in 2018, according to Statista, which estimates ebook revenue at about $6m.
The market leader in ebooks in Romania is Elefant.ro. Again, Amazon has no ebook presence in the country.
The country’s biggest bookfair, the Bucharest Bookfest in May, regularly attracts crowds of of 100,000, but is just one of seven major bookfests across the country.