Between 2009 and 2019, the book sector lost 13% of its workforce

Between 2009 and 2019, the book sector lost 13% of its workforce

Knowing and documenting the assessment of the first months of the health crisis over the years 2020-2021 began to be published: after a finally-measured decline in 2020, due to restrictions and concerns related to the pandemic and business closures, the book has largely recovered in 2021.

If economic studies have always tended to mask the differences – and in particular the difficulties of smaller publishing houses, for writers – then the Ministry of Culture estimates that, on the occasion of an economic study of 2021, the results of sales during the period of the latter made possible ” compensate for Pretty much a loss for 2020.

Nicholas Petrzyk, responsible for economic studies at the ministry, this time publishes a survey devoted to the economic weight of culture, according to sectors. To calculate this weight, data and concepts used by INSEE to calculate annual GDP are filled in and applied to culture, taking into account non-market production. The study thus advances Added Value for culture, i.e. Total cultural production less intermediate consumption, […] All products or services converted or consumed during the production process (raw materials, electricity for example) ».

« In 2020, the cultural added value will decrease by 7% in value and 15% in volume under the influence
from the health crisis The author wrote, more marked decline than the economy (-5.3% in terms of value). In terms of volume and value, books contribute 1.4 points to declining cultural GDP – thus moderate participation, and the book sector that is still resilient during the 2020 crisis.

With a total production estimated at 14.4 billion euros, with an added value of 6.7 billion euros, books and journalism represent 14% of the total added value of the cultural field. The stagnation continues to be felt, with a 9% decrease in value added, by volume, between 2019 and 2020.

Twenty years of hindsight

Over a longer period of time, the book’s decline is more worrisome. ” Books and the press [dans la valeur ajoutée culturelle] Decreases by about 10 points between 2000 and 2020 The study evokes: When writers and journalism were playing with equal arms with the visual and audio in 2000, the latter largely bypassed them. Note, however, that the decline of journalism in the cultural habits of the French particularly affects the combined results of journalism and writers.

In fact, if we only take into account Actual household consumption in terms of size at previous year’s prices ‘, as the chart below indicates, when the newspapers break down, the book remains fairly stable.

With 50,900 active people in 2019, publishing accounts for 7% of total cultural assets, and 39% of non-employees. Between 2009 and 2019, these numbers experienced a significant decline (-13%), just behind the press (-19%).

Read: French families spent 3.7 billion euros on books in 2020

However, it should be noted that this study, which is thus based on GDP measurement conventions, may miss numerical practices and expenditures, precisely because the measurement tools do not allow them to be taken into account. ” [L]Analysis of the evolution of cultural practices cannot rely solely on the observation of cultural consumer spending: the decline in a sector can only reflect the decline in physical sales and the difficulty of absorbing those brought about by the development of digital technology. ”, confirms the study. Therefore, surveys of the general population, which are conducted in particular by the Ministry of Culture, are necessary to counterbalance some observations related to economic surveys.

The full survey can be accessed below.

Photography: Illustration, Ittmust, CC BY 2.0


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