The Markets Conference to Examine Philippines

Frankfurt Book FairThe Markets, a one-day conference that kicks off the Frankfurt Book Fair, announced today that it will “examine in greater detail” the Philippine book market.

Full press release below:

THE MARKETS – Global Publishing Summit 2016
Market overview: The Philippines – island nation of self-publishers

Frankfurt, 31 May 2016 – The Philippines is the world champion runner-up on the world’s largest self-publishing platform Wattpad: among the website’s two million authors and 45 million visitors, the Philippines, with seven million users, represents the second largest group of users after the USA. And that’s just one interesting fact about the Philippine book market, which THE MARKETS, the conference set to kick off the Frankfurt Book Fair (19-23 October 2016), will examine in greater detail. In addition, participants in the 2016 conference will also gain insight into the following markets:

Flanders & The Netherlands
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom

On Tuesday, 18 October 2016, numerous publishers, strategists and industry experts from these countries will offer analyses, visions and direct business advice, as well as personal tips. The one-day conference is organised by the Frankfurt Book Fair in cooperation with the US trade magazine Publishing Perspectives.

Market overview: The Philippines – digital at the forefront

In addition to the use of self-publishing platforms, domestic experts such as Graciela Mendoza Cayton, Executive Director of the National Book Development Board, see further growth potential in the online sector. Excellent underlying conditions support this prognosis: In 2015, the 7,000-island nation reported a mobile market penetration of 101 per cent (Germany: 133 per cent), and 36 per cent for the Internet. What’s notable is that Internet users spend an average of 6.2 hours online per day, with 96 per cent being equally active on social media.

In contrast, with sales of 172 million euros and 6,000 new releases for the year, the traditional book sector is at a low level and plagued by numerous problems. In terms of book production, the Philippines is lagging behind most nations in the Asia-Pacific region; in fact, per capita it comes in last in the world. According to the National Book Development Board, only some 1,000 authors, 50 illustrators and 400 publishers are registered in the country, with its 100-million-strong population.

Karina A. Bolasco of Anvil Publishing, Inc., an eleven-time Publisher of the Year as cited by the Manila Critics Circle and the biggest and most progressive trade book publisher in the Philippines founded and operationalized in 1990, points to enormously expensive paper imports (due to high taxes), patchy distribution structures, the shortage of bookstores and insufficient support for book marketing as significant problem areas.

On the other hand, the Philippines has a well educated and reading-oriented young population. With its “K-to-12”-programme, since 2011, the Philippine government has initiated a national education reform that extends schooling from 10 to 12 years. The main focus is on better preparing pupils for their subsequent professional lives. Bolasco expects that this will give the publishing sector a big boost since almost 500 new textbooks need to be developed for this purpose.

An important characteristic of the Philippine book market is its close connection to the US book industry, the result not least of the country’s almost 50-year-long colonization by the United States. As a result of American influence, English is the second official language, along with Filipino, and an important second language for more than 50 per cent of Filipinos. “First and foremost, we’re a large consumer market for English-language books, particularly from the US and Great Britain. US publishers see us as an extension of their market because we read in English”, says Bolasco. At the same time, however, the Filipino readership is also growing, which is why Anvil is strengthening its commitment to promoting domestic authors and literature.

As part of THE MARKETS, Karina A. Bolasco will provide a comprehensive overview of the structures, challenges and business opportunities in the Philippine book market.

Overview of Philippine book market:
Sales: approx. 172 million euros (2013)
Publishers: 400 (2014)
Published titles: approx. 35,000 (2013), approx. 6000 new titles per year
Average print run: 500-1,000 copies
Bookstores: 2,500
Literacy rate: 96 per cent (2015)

Sources: National Book Development Board of the Philippines; Charting the Future of Books in the Philippines (a publication of the Book Development Association of the Philippines); International Book Publishing: An Encyclopedia (Eds. Philip G. Altbach, Edith S. Hoshino; Routledge 2015)

For tickets and further information go to:

About the Frankfurt Book Fair

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with 7,100 exhibitors from more than 100 countries, around 275,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and around 10,000 accredited journalists (including 2,000 bloggers) in attendance. It also gathers key players from other media, including the film and games industries. Since 1976, the Book Fair has featured an annual Guest of Honour country, which showcases its book market, literature and culture to attendees in a variety of ways. The Frankfurt Book Fair organises the participation of German publishers in some 20 international book fairs and hosts trade events throughout the year in major international markets. With its Business Club, the Frankfurt Book Fair offers entrepreneurs, publishers, founders, thought leaders, experts and visionaries an ideal setting for their business activities. The Frankfurt Book Fair is a subsidiary of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association.

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