Turkey’s Publishing Industry: Market Briefing

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Summary: The Turkish publishing market is steadily developing thanks to many factors: growth in population; lengthening of compulsory primary education to eight years, increase in the GNP, a variety of books becoming more available with the improved distribution network and the development of publishing technologies. In the last decade there has been a 300 percent increase in the number of published books with around 43,190 titles released in 2011 according to the Turkish Ministry of Culture. In 2011, the book-publishing sector reached a sales volume of 1.5 billion dollars.

The main market opportunities for U.S. publishers are in the imported books segment, which is calculated around $80 million. In addition, many international book titles are translated into Turkish, providing royalty payments to publishers. E-books are expected to quickly become an important market segment as well, with an annual growth rate of 120% since their first introduction into Turkey in 2010.

Market Entry: The direct imports of books into Turkey are typically handled by one of Turkey’s major book importers, sales agents, bookstore chains or on-line book stores. For translated books, cooperating with a Turkish publishing house or literary and copyright agency, which represents foreign publishers’ titles, would provide the easiest access to the market. Ideally, a partner should have experience in translations and an established distribution network. The publishing business of Turkey is based in Istanbul.

Turkish publishers frequently participate in major international book fairs in Europe, such as the Frankfurt Book Fair, London Book Fair, and Bologna Children’s Book Fair. These fairs provide opportunities to meet with Turkish publishers for possible cooperation.

Current Market Trends: In one of the largest educational projects in the world, the Ministry of Education in Turkey has initiated the FATIH (Movement to Increase Opportunities and Technology) Project in 2010 aiming to provide tablet computers to all K-12 students, to install smart boards in every classroom and to digitize every textbook.  The project, with an expected cost of 10 billion dollars, is due for completion by the end of 2015 and will serve 17.5 million K-12 students. This project is expected to bring about huge changes in the publishing market and develop the e-book segment.

Turkish publishers initially had minimal interest in e-books, believing the market was not ready and worrying about the negative effects for published books. Turkey’s major online bookstore Idefixe first introduced Turkish e-books into the market in April 2010. Currently this is the fastest growing market segment (120% annually); in 2011 fifty Turkish publishing houses offered 1,314 titles in e-book format.

The internet is also growing in importance as a sales channel. Both international (amazon.com) and national (idefix.com, kitapyurdu.com, dr.com.tr) online bookstores are increasing their sales in Turkey.

Current Demand: Turkey does not have a body that tracks sales in the publishing market. However the Turkish Publishers Association estimates total book sales in 2011 reached $1.5 billion with 43,190 book titles. 30-35% of the book titles are translations and about 95% of them are translated from English.

The Turkish market can be divided into the segments of educational books (textbooks, supplementary books), cultural publications (fiction and non-fiction titles such as novels, hobby books etc), academic books (university and professional publications) and imported books (foreign language books). All the market segments are experiencing growth. About 31 percent of the books sold are cultural publications and 54 percent of the market consists of books related to education, language training and academic study.

Barriers: Piracy continues to be a major barrier for the publishing sector in Turkey. Turkish Publishers Association states that the market size would be 30 percent larger if the piracy of books could be controlled. According to Law No. 5846 on Intellectual and Artistic Works (revised in 2004), piracy is considered a public offense although enforcement of the law is weak. In 2011, law enforcement agencies conducted large-scale raiding operations against printing houses suspected of producing pirated books and seized 2 million pirated school books, which demonstrates the severity of the problem.

Trade Events: The International Istanbul Book Fair has been organized since 1982 and is the largest book fair in Turkey backed by the Turkish Publishers Association. The fair mainly targets the public, with 450 thousand attendees buying books from over 600 publishers.

For more information on selling to Turkey, please contact Patricia.Molinaro@trade.gov

Source: U.S. Commercial Service, www.export.gov/turkey

Expert Publishing Blog
U.S. Commercial Service

About U.S. Commercial Service

The Global Publishing, Media & Entertainment Team is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce and consists of International Trade Specialists that help publishers sell rights and titles internationally. This federal government agency has colleagues in U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide who work with the publishing sector to help them vet potential partners, overcome trade barriers, access contacts and find country-specific market data. In addition, this team coordinates educational webinars, catalog shows, and other programs to support U.S. publishers at domestic and international book fairs. For more information and recent team activities, visit export.gov/industry/paper.

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