From 10 to 14 October book lovers and publishers look to Frankfurt where the annual Frankfurt Book Fair takes place. However nostalgic one may see books, they are as much a commodity as any other traded good, and publishers – however committed to their business – look for a good business deal and reasonable revenues when agreeing to a new book project. On Worldmapper we looked at the number of books published in 1999. At request and with the help of the International Publishers Association (IPA) we have now updated this map using the most recent data that we could get. The following map takes a slightly different methodological approach and therefore displays not the total number of books, but represents domestic publishing markets by market value at consumer prices:
The data has been compiled by Rüdiger Wischenbart for the IPA, who described the map in an accompanying short report: “The Global Map of Publishing Markets is the first visual representation of publishing around the world by the numbers. The map demonstrates the way that books and the industry behind them reflect access to knowledge and to the opportunity to dive into the imaginary worlds brought to life by written words—where books are freely available and where books are hidden behind scores of cultural, social, or economic obstacles. The map and the data behind it provide a better understanding of the opportunities, as well as the challenges, in making reading and access to books universal. The 2012 Global Map of Publishing Markets displays a world of striking inequalities. A few countries form powerful centres of gravity, with several more–those which economists call “emerging markets”–shown at least relatively equal to their size in terms of territory and population. But the majority of markets are difficult to identify, lost in the periphery.
Yet the Global Map of Publishing Markets and, even more so, the underlying data and research on market developments, do more than portray an uneven playing field. They can be used as a road map for anyone concerned with the globalisation of culture, knowledge, and learning; they highlight huge opportunities for all those who are in the business of publishing and related industries. They hopefully serve as incentive and encouragement to stakeholders particularly in emerging markets and in lesser-represented regions. The strategic goal going forward is certainly adjusting this map so that in the future, the world of publishing more closely resembles that standard map of geographers and demographers—one in which countries have a roughly identical size with regard to their population and publishing market.”
More details on the map and the methodology behind the underlying data can be found in the report from the IPA website (pdf download):
Drawing the Global Map of Publishing Markets 2012: An experimental introduction
This year’s honorary guest country at the Book Fair is New Zealand,
shown here in an equal-population projection from the World Population Atlas
The main map on this page has been created by Benjamin D. Hennig of the Sasi Research Group (University of Sheffield) for the International Publishers Association. The gridded population map is taken from my World Population Atlas, which is part of the Worldmapper project. Please contact me for further details.