A new study shows Russia’s younger school students pipped their counterparts in Singapore and Hong Kong to take number one slot in reading skills, thanks to “new educational standards for primary school, as well as a positive parental example and the spread of electronic gadgets,” reports Kommersant.
Another factor may be the growth in children’s books sales in Russia, leading an overall growing market, although this more in revenue than unit sales.
Revenue growth, up 9% last year, followed growth of 7-8% the previous year, but overall unit sales remained tepid.
The market for 2017 broke down as 40% education, 21% children’s, 20% adult fiction and 19% non-fiction.
The figures, largely drawn from Russia’s biggest publishing enterprise Exmo-AST, suggest a 12% increase in children’s books and 41% growth in ebook sales.
Not all publishers shared that experience. Alpina reported 43% growth overall, but ebooks grew slower than print.
In a mirror of the western experience, Russia’s online sales grew 20% while bookstores managed only 2% growth.
Audiobooks saw the biggest growth, with LitRes reporting 72% growth in 2017, despite the arrival of Storytel in Russia.
Last month in an interview with Publishing Perspectives, Sergey Anuriev, general director of LitRes, said digital content accounted for 15% of the Russian book market and that was expected to double by the end of the decade.