The Philippine book publishing industry has been gradually flourishing with publishers, writers, illustrators, and readers actively stimulating it over the recent years. As we acknowledge that books are great medium for communication and expression of ideas, thoughts, and philosophy, we also acknowledge how the industry behind it has been striving for years.
In this report, we will see how our industry has achieved its steady growth within the span of eight years from 2010 to 2018. Starting from the data provided by Philippine Statistics Authority from 2010 to 2016, we will see the stability of the industry’s employment, establishment, and revenues. Highlighted here are the 4,248 publishers and 1,455 NLP-affiliated public libraries recorded in 2015, as well as data from the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) which showed a notable increase in the percentage distribution of ISBN issued to e-books.
Looking into the consumption of books by specific institutions, data from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey shows that only PhP5.4 billion were spent on books from 2003 to 2015. On the side of the Department of Education, a 56% completion of the targeted number of textbooks has been achieved. Although the consumption of books may be low, the book business sector is still lively, with the retail business as the more advantageous mode of trade than wholesale.
On a larger scale of economic contribution, the industry contributed 0.04% in the country’s 2016 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with a total revenue of PhP 6.19 billion. Attention is also given on the increasing potential of the e-commerce of books, as well as the struggles on its marketing and promotion, compensation for the book industry stakeholders, and development of readership.
On the other hand, the local and international book trade data indicate a wide gap between imports and exports. According to the 2018 data on imports, we have spent PhP 3.6 billion for the books and PhP 9.4 billion for the raw materials. Meanwhile, the exportation of books and paper materials only amounted to PhP 236.33 million and PhP 443 million, respectively. The low number of exportation is, of course, not a disadvantage nor a tarnish in our industry but can be perceived as a potential area to venture on in line with our initiative to further develop and sustain our local publishing industry.
As we see areas of struggle, we also see avenues of improvement and innovation. Constant stimulation and improvement of the book industry has been the top priority of The National Book Development Board (NBDB) ever since it has been established. Patterned from the present capacity of our book industry and our goal to build a dynamic and competitive industry, initiatives such as capacity-building activities, investment promotions, public campaigns, and industry research projects are conducted by the agency along with its government and private partners.
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