The Greek book market has some unique characteristics which may not follow general market trends; for example, a small number of publishers produce 77 percent of total titles, while most publishing houses are still run by their founders or their founders’ descendents. Also, the industry is highly centralized with 8 out of 10 publishing houses located in Athens.
There are around 1,500 bookshops in Greece – most of which are small, mixed book- stationary shops – and over 3,500 points-of-sale, including press agencies and supermarkets.
The first bookstore chains appeared in the past ten years (Public, Papasotiriou, Eleftheroudakis, Ianos being among the largest), but the economic crisis has had an effect on both small independent stores and larger chains. Wholesale distribution is not sufficiently developed so many publishers retain independent distribution networks.
Despite the fact that e-publishing in Greece only recently began following international developments, since 2010 the high sales of digital devices have triggered a rise in e-book titles available in Greek, including backlist titles and new releases.
Foreign books in translation represent a significant share of the market. English is the most translated original language with 53% of translations coming from English. There is clearly a strong demand for foreign fiction, the figures showing stability despite the general fall in the number of titles after 2009, at a level that remains comparable to that of Greek novels (442 in 2010 and 507 in 2011).
Main competition in this segment comes from the USA, Scandinavia and France. Some 49% of imported books are in English and come, primarily from Great Britain, due both to the broad profusion of English language publications around the world and the widespread teaching of English in Greece. A significant proportion of the imports are educational (ELT and other textbooks).
The e-book market is expected to grow but is dependent on the provision of content by publishers, the establishment of organised e-book stores while readers must be encouraged to acquire e-readers. Also, the harmonization of VAT between e-books (23%) and printed books (6.5%) which is being discussed at EU level will help reduce e-book prices and, in turn, boost e-book sales.
So-called crossover /teenage fiction has been identified as a new market segment that is showing rapid growth. Increased sales have been observed of new editions of classic literature as well as political and socio-economic subjects.
Opportunities exist also for UK wholesalers representing various publishers and the direct export of small volumes of specific titles to Greek book chains/publishers.
Demand was expressed by certain publishers for seminars on translation of specific UK authors/style of writing. Possible collaborations with British Council Athens.
All major Greek publishers visit and exhibit at the book fair in Frankfurt and some in Bologna. UKTI Greece is happy to circulate relevant UK publishers’ info/material to Greek market contacts, beforehand.
Getting into the market
All major Greek publishers visit and exhibit at the book fair in Frankfurt and some in Bologna and have meetings with the companies they are interested in. UKTI Greece is happy to circulate relevant UK publishers’ info/material to Greek market contacts, beforehand. Our team in Athens can always provide list of contacts of key publishers and importers, as well as and arrange appointments should somebody want to visit the market.
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.
Caterina Drossopoulou, British Embassy Athens. Tel: +30 210 7272744 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Klio Panourgia, British Embassy Athens. Tel: +30 210 727 2684 or email: email@example.com.
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
UKTI Greece Webinar – Presentation of major oil & gas projects in the region (19 September 2013) – details will be published soon on our Events pages for Greece or Oil & Gas.
Thessaloniki International Book Fair
April 2014 (to be confirmed)