GVR Report cover Books Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Books Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Type (Science, Historical, Mystery, Fantasy, Literary, Contemporary, Romance, Educational, Comic), By Distribution Channel, By Format, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 - 2028

  • Published Date: Sep, 2021
  • Base Year for Estimate: 2020
  • Report ID: GVR-2-68038-071-2
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Data: 2016 - 2019
  • Number of Pages: 83

Report Overview

The global books market size was valued at USD 132.1 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.4% from 2021 to 2028. Technological innovations in the industry, with the advent of audio- and video-based e-books, are attracting consumers across regions. Easy accessibility of paperback copies for differently-abled and non-English speaking groups are some of the key factors driving the market growth.

North America books market size, by type, 2018 - 2028 (USD Billion)

The publishing landscape is always evolving with the emergence of newer categories that are gaining consumers’ attention. The new adult genre has taken a foothold in the industry and is expected to further grow in the years to come. As the popularity of novels and short stories is waning, another genre has gained traction, more than making up for the decline in fiction book sales. According to Penguin Random House, revenue from non-fiction titles soared by nearly 30% in 2017, over the preceding five years. Furthermore, poetry reading gained popularity among U.S. adults, increasing by 76% from 2012 to 2017.

Rising consumer spending, coupled with an increased focus on self-development, drives the market for books. Nowadays, consumers are more likely to spend on hobbies they like to pursue and their areas of interest. Moreover, higher importance is being given to leisure activities, resulting in an increased number of readers. This has led to greater momentum in the market. With a surge in purchasing power, consumers are more willing to spend on various products and services in line with their hobbies and interests.

The impact of COVID-19 on different industries has varied widely. However, book publishers, on the whole, have performed well in 2020, escaping many of the COVID-inflicted disruptions faced by several other sectors. According to a research study by Springer Nature Switzerland AG, in February 2021, overall retail sales of books changed only slightly in 2020; however, there were huge swings month-to-month. April sales were down by 14.7% from March but were followed by an 18.3% jump in May. November retail sales dropped by 1.1% from October but were up by 4.1% from November 2019. Furthermore, trade sales in 2020 were almost uniformly ahead of 2019, and in several categories, unit sales were up over 20% through mid-December.

Books have witnessed enormous changes throughout their history. From papyrus scrolls to the introduction of e-books with the advent of digital media and new technologies, the market for books has adapted itself into various forms such as e-books and audiobooks. Thus, since reading moved to screens, it has widened the scope of opportunities for publishers as well as readers in the market.

Type Insights

The mystery books segment dominated the market for books and accounted for the largest revenue share of 16.7% in 2020. The dominance of this segment can be attributed to the trend that crime/mystery and thriller is one of the most liked fiction book categories worldwide, as readers are flocking to buy books in this genre.

Science books are usually a work of non-fiction and could be related to a science or non-science-based person. Authors of popular science books have historically been well-known scientists, such as Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye, and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Female scientists and science writers such as Rachel Carson and Jane Good all have also had a significant impact on their respective fields and through their writing.

Distribution Channel Insights                                        

The local book shops segment dominated the market for books and accounted for the largest revenue share of 50.3% in 2020. Retail shops offer a variety of consumer utility goods. Books are usually sold at these stores to promote a new book or a new publishing brand. The retail store concept encompasses departmental stores, convenience stores, and supermarkets, where every day, irrespective of a weekend or a weekday, there is huge consumer footfall. New authors or newly launched books are usually placed in these stores as a part of the promotion strategy.

Global books market share, by distribution channel, 2020 (%)

Whereas, the online segment generated revenue of USD 36.9 billion and by 2028 is estimated to be valued at 46.9 billion. Amazon set foot in the e-commerce sector as an online bookstore in July 1995, as the first-ever online bookstore. More websites started going live after Amazon, such as AbeBooks, Alibris, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc. When Amazon started selling books online, it was groundbreaking. This is because even though many businesses were still in the online business arena, but none of the companies could provide as much convenience, like home delivery as quickly as within 24 hours, like Amazon.

Format Insights

The hardcopy segment dominated the market for books and held the largest revenue share of 78.9% in 2020 on account of consumers been wanting to reduce screen time; this includes young and millennial readers as well as parents who want to limit the amount of time their children spend in front of a screen. The printed word has many compelling advantages over reading on a screen. It is easier on the eyes, easy to browse, and comes with certain durability that the relatively impermanent and easily edited digital text does not have. While many other technologies were soon made obsolete and replaced by more recent advances, books have survived as a medium almost unchanged for centuries, despite abundant competition.

The e-book segment is estimated to ascend at a CAGR  of 3.0% from 2021 to 2028. The segment is expected to be valued at USD 27.1 billion by 2028. Whereas, the audiobooks segment is estimated to ascend at a CAGR of 3.5% from 2021 to 2028. The segment is expected to be valued at USD 8.4 billion by 2028.

Regional Insights

North America dominated the market and held the largest revenue share of 32.9% in 2020 on account of the presence of a large number of independent publishers and publishing companies in the region is anticipated to boost the market. Additionally, the growing number of avid readers in North America is likely to benefit the books market. Asia Pacific is estimated to be the second-largest and fastest-growing region. The region is dominated by local publishers and the demand for international books is anticipated to increase.

In Asia Pacific, the market is estimated to grow fast over the forecast period. The region is dominated by local publishers and the demand for international books is anticipated to increase. However, many diverse languages are prevalent here and thus, the demand for books in regional languages is more as compared to English books.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights

The market is characterized by the presence of several well-established players such as Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Pearson. These players account for a considerable market share, have diverse product portfolios, and have a strong presence across the globe. Moreover, the market also includes small to mid-sized players, who offer a selected range of products; of these, some are self-publishing companies.

The impact of the major players on the market is quite high as a majority of them have vast networks across the globe to reach out to their large customer bases. Key players operating in the market, particularly in Europe and North America, are focusing on strategic initiatives such as acquisitions, new collection launches, and partnerships in order to drive revenue growth and reinforce their positions in the global market. Some of the prominent players in the books market include:

  • Penguin Random House

  • Hachette Book Company

  • HarperCollins Publishers

  • Simon & Schuster, Inc.

  • MacMillan Publishers

  • Pearson

  • Scholastic, Inc.


  • Morris Publishing

  • IDW Publishing

Books Market Report Scope

Report Attribute


Market size value in 2021

USD 138.4 billion

Revenue forecast in 2028

USD 159.3 billion

Growth rate

CAGR of 2.4% from 2021 to 2028

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2016 - 2019

Forecast period

2021 - 2028

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD billion and CAGR from 2021 to 2028

Report coverage  

Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends

Regional scope

North America; Europe; Asia Pacific; Central & South America; Middle East & Africa

Country scope

U.S.; U.K.; Germany; France; Japan; India; South Korea; China

Key Companies profiled

Penguin Random House; Hachette Book Company; HarperCollins Publishers; Simon & Schuster, Inc.; MacMillan Publishers; Pearson; Scholastic, Inc.; MARVEL; Morris Publishing; IDW Publishing

Customization scope

Free report customization (equivalent up to 8 analyst’s working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country, regional, and segment scope.

Pricing and purchase options

Avail customized purchase options to meet your exact research needs. Explore purchase options.

Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2016 to 2028. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global books market report on the basis of type, distribution channel, format, and region:

  • Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2016 - 2028)

    • Science

    • Historical

    • Mystery

    • Fantasy

    • Literary

    • Contemporary/Realistic

    • Romance

    • Educational

    • Comic

    • Others (Classic, Biographies) 

  • Distribution Channel Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2016 - 2028)

    • Online

    • Local Book Shops

    • Retail Shops

    • Specialty Stores

  • Format Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2016 - 2028)

    • Hard Copy

    • E-Book

    • Audiobooks

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2016 - 2028)

    • North America

      •  U.S.

    • Europe

      • U.K.

      • Germany

      • France

    • Asia pacific

      • China

      • Japan

      • India

      • South Korea

    • Central and South America

    • Middle East and Africa

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