The Federation of European Publishers – an independent, non-commercial umbrella association of book publishers associations from all over the European Union – is currently working on EUDICOM, a two-year Creative Europe project, aimed at supporting comics publishers interested in digital distributions of comics.
Launched earlier this year during the virtual version of this year’s Angouléme Festival, the Eudicom program aims to support publishers of comics in Europe, including the UK, in getting ready for distributing digital comics. The consortium partners, led by IZNEO, the leading European digital comics platform, is currently researching the whole digital comic market across Europe and has published some of its preliminary findings, with much more to do.
Comics represent 2 to 6% of the publishers’ sales in most territories across Europe, with notable exceptions France (15%) and French-speaking Belgium (around 33% of publishing revenues). Digital sales are growing but, currently, what data has been gathered suggest the UK has a much bigger digital comic readership than most other European countries, although the pandemic has seen an upswing in sales.
The next stage of the project is to offer an efficient capacity building programme, primarily to publishers in Poland, Spain and Italy and promote the benefits to the other EU countries via the Federation of European Publishers. The organisation is also looking to involve UK publishers, too, since many have more experience of the sector than some European publishers, and in the main have been more receptive to getting their books on to digital platforms.
The EUDICOM project aims to ensure that comics publishers of European countries are on the same page regarding technology formats, distribution models and marketing opportunities in order to reach new audiences and make the most of revenues on the growing digital platforms in Europe and worldwide.
The Federation of European Publishers also recently published “One Year After“, a new report on the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for the book market in Europe, available in English, offering insights into the situation one year into the pandemic.
The report is based on a consolidation of national trends which have been shared with FEP by its 29 members (national associations of publishers of books, learned journals and educational content, in all formats). FEP had already released a first report in July 2020.
Its findings are diverse, but “all in all confident overall picture emerges,” noted FEP President Peter Kraus vom Cleff in his foreword. “Publishers as well as booksellers have displayed an amazing entrepreneurial willingness to adapt to the circumstances, finding new and innovative solutions whenever required.
“During lockdowns, many people re-discovered books,” he notes. “Reading as a fundamental cultural technique can, on the one hand, open the door to education and the reader’s own bright future, and, on the other hand, it allows us to escape to new worlds of our imagination.
“A key lesson we can draw from our study is that political support for our uniquely diverse and varied cultural sector is crucial,” he urges. “The evidence shows that countries which classified books and book shops as essential and specifically promoted and supported the cultural sector suffered significantly fewer losses in this core sector, which is so important for Europe culturally and economically, than those in which there was a complete shutdown of the brick-and-mortar book shops and a lack of state support.”
Founded in 1967, FEP is an independent, non-commercial umbrella association of book publishers associations in the European Union, representing 29 national associations of book publishers of the European Union and of the European Economic Area. FEP is the voice of the great majority of publishers in Europe.
FEP deals with European legislation and advises publishers’ associations on copyright and other legislative issues. It’s an organisation geared to supporting a cultural industry in Europe with an annual sales revenue of book publishers of approximately € 22.2 billion, according to a survey conducted by FEP for the year 2017. A total of about 610,000 new titles were issued by publishers in 2017 and approximately 130,000 people are employed full time in book publishing.