Frankfurt a. M, 16 March 2020 – Frankfurt business Bookwire GmbH has recorded a successful annual balance for 2019: 35% more sales in all business segments as an aggregator for publishing clients – with growth even reaching 140% in the audiobook segment. Bookwire’s international expansion also continues to be successful, driven by Bookwire OS, which was launched in 2019.
Audiobook business drives sales – stable growth in eBook sales
The end-of-year review showed that Bookwire GmbH had performed well in all business areas. As in the publishing industry as a whole, the major driver for the Frankfurt-based digital publishing technology business is the audiobook area. A 140% increase in sales in the audiobook business in 2019 compared with the previous year boosted total turnover, and the number of audiobooks exploited through Bookwire had increased to over 60,000 by the end of 2019.
Sales in the eBook business also increased by 24%, with a simultaneous increase in the number of Bookwire titles to currently over 400,000. Together with the Print-on-Demand (PoD) business area, which is also steadily growing, Bookwire globally exploits a total of almost 500,000 titles across all formats.
“The development supports the decision we made years ago to focus more on the audio branch – and, as a first mover, we are now an international leader in the audiobook business. Audiobook production solution “We Audiobook You” (WAY) and audiobook voice assistant “Bookwire Odyssey” for smart speakers are just two innovative in-house developments that support our publishers on this market” says Jens Klingelhöfer, CEO of Bookwire GmbH, adding: “We also continue to record growth in the eBook area with our full service for publishing clients in our core market, DACH, but primarily also in Brazil and Spain. Plus, PoD is another growth area that completes our portfolio.”
Streaming is the number 1 growth driver
Audiobook streaming is a powerful growth driver, as demonstrated by the immense gains in this area: In 2019, the audiotracks from audiobooks and plays distributed via Bookwire were streamed over 800 million times, more than three times as frequently as in 2018. This reflects the success of audiobooks and shows the contribution made by far-reaching music-streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer or Napster.
Bookwire OS attracts major customers to Bookwire
At the end of 2019, Bookwire was looking after around 1,700 publishing clients, over 900 of which are in the DACH region, with the others spread across Brazil, Latin America and the UK, etc.
The number of distribution titles increased by 28% in Brazil. On the whole, Bookwire Brazil’s catalogue grew to 45,000 titles, while Spain & Latin America were only marginally behind with 41,500 titles (an increase of 22%).
Well-known publishers who concluded cooperation agreements with Bookwire in 2019 include, among others, Haufe-Lexware GmbH and Universum Film GmbH. Hörbuch Hamburg and HarperCollins Germany, among others, concluded agreements for audio catalogues.
In international business too, Bookwire entered into long-term cooperations with new large European clients like Bloomsbury Publishing Inc. (eBooks), Saga Egmont (eBooks and audiobooks) as well as HarperCollins France and HarperCollins Italia (audiobooks).
“Developing Bookwire OS with the pillars of production, distribution, marketing and analytics has really paid off for us. Bookwire OS gives our global clients everything they need to do successful and efficient digital business: From a medium-sized niche specialist with the “360-degree full service” to international publishing groups that make global use of Bookwire OS as a ‘software as a service’ solution”, says Klingelhöfer.
Outlook for 2020: Investments in the technology of the future
Bookwire will present the new version of the “Bookwire Odyssey” voice assistant in time for Leipzig Book Fair. Furthermore, Bookwire OS will be expanded in the PoD services area by the end of March 2020, and a new version of “Bookwire OS Analytics” will be rolled out in the second quarter.
“We will keep increasing our investments in Bookwire OS, in our Business Development Initiatives and in our Team. This will consolidate our position as leader for innovative technology solutions for our clients and continue our contribution to successfully shaping the digitization of the publishing industry. The major focus this year will be on the audio area, additional marketing services for eBooks, the new interface for PoD in Bookwire OS, as well data analytics”, explains John Ruhrmann, Managing Director of Bookwire GmbH, looking ahead.