The latest monthly book sales report from Nielsen and SNEL (National Syndicat of Book Publishers) shows 5.37% growth in retail sales between August 13, with annual growth of 9.33%.
The assessment, comprising reported figures from bookstores, supermarkets and self-service stores gives revenues of R $ 137.5 million ($35 million).
This 5.37% revenue increase is matched by a unit sales increase of 3.65%, with 3.5 million reported sales.
This despite the major upheaval in June-July with a truckers’ strike that stopped supplies to bookstores through the summer.
Bookscan Brasil manager Ismael Borges summarised,
Despite all the political-economic uncertainties in Brazil and a poorly harmonized scenario involving players in the book market, consumption of books is on the other hand, going towards a good year-end.
As reported here last month, Fnac Brasil has closed all but one its stores –
which one might think would have a negative impact on sales, but it seems not.
It’s not clear if the Nielsen numbers include online print retail, but we can safely say they do not encompass all digital sales on platforms like Amazon, Apple, Kobo and domestic ebook outlets.
Nor will they include sales at Brazil’s numerous book fairs and festivals.
Let’s take one example.
Brazil’s Flipoços International Literary Festival in May attracted 85,000 visitors, and sold $325,000 books in nine days.
It’s by no means the biggest. That honour went this year to the São Paulo International Book Fair.
As reported here in August, Brazil’s 25th Bienal Internacional do Livro had been expecting 700,000, but only 663,000 book-lovers turned out for the ten day event.
But they spent 33% more than in 2016, handing over on average R$ 161.57 (US$41.33) per person.
As noted in that TNPS post,
All this from the public-facing event, which came after the “Professional Day,” a one-day special for publishers of different lands to get together and make deals.
Organised by the Brazilian Chamber of Books (CBL) and Apex Brasil, the Professional Day saw publishers from Brazil, Spanish-speaking Latin America, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey get together to conclude deals worth US$ 310,000.
At which point we need to take a step back and remind ourselves that few if any of these sales happening at fairs and festivals like the Flipoços Festival and the São Paulo Bienal are showing up in the Nielsen Bookscan numbers.
And that’s a similar story around the world’s nascent markets, where book fairs and festivals sell countless millions of books for countless millions of dollars that go untracked by the industry stats counters.