Almost one in five physical books bought in Holland is in English

English language books driving increase in Dutch sales; Audiobooks more popular.

Residents of The Netherlands bought 43.2 million books last year, a rise of 0.4% on the year before. English-language books drove the sales, and physical bookstores regained their ground after losing it to online shopping during the pandemic. Audiobooks also massively spiked in popularity, the Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek foundation reported.

The market for Dutch-language books shrunk in 2022 dropping by 3%, with Dutch-language fiction seeing the most significant decrease of 10%.

One in five books sold last year was a foreign-language book, and the vast majority were in English.

People in the Netherlands spent €664m on books last year, an increase of 2.7%. “With that, 2022 was the eighth consecutive year of turnover increase,” the foundation for Dutch books said.

After two years of online book sales soaring due to the coronavirus pandemic and related stay-at-home restrictions, physical bookstores regained popularity last year. People bought 16% more books at physical stores, resulting in a turnover increase of 25%. However, physical bookstores’ sales were still slightly lower than in pre-pandemic 2019 (-2%). Online, 12% fewer books were sold, resulting in a turnover decrease of 11%.

Netherlands residents bought 6% fewer loose e-books last year than in 2021, but the popularity of subscription services for e-books and audiobooks’ sky-rocketed. The number of audiobooks and e-books distributed through these services increased by 76%, according to an initial estimate from the CPNB. Last year, these subscription services accounted for 48% of the digital market, compared to 34% in 2021.

Libraries were also more popular last year, according to initial figures from Stichting Leenrecht. Last year, Netherlands residents borrowed about 51 million physical books and audiobooks from libraries, an increase of 34% compared to 2021. However, that is still well below the around 56 million books borrowed from libraries in pre-pandemic 2019.    26th January 2023

Information from NL#TIMES/Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek