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Consumer ebooks sales increased by 366% in 2011


The Publishers Association (The PA) has today published its Statistics Yearbook 2011 of publishers’ sales, which reveals that consumer ebook sales increased by 366% in 2011. 

Other highlights for 2011 from the Statistics Yearbook are:

· All digital formats encompassing ebooks, audio book downloads and online subscriptions accounted for 8% of the total invoiced value of sales of books in 2011, up from 5% in 2010.

· Consumer ebook sales are now equivalent to 6% of consumer physical book sales by value;

· 13% of academic and professional book revenues came from digital products;

· Overall digital sales grew by 54%;

· Total physical sales of school books (excluding ELT) increased by 6% to £271m. 

·  41% of revenues earned through export – with East & South Asia and Central & South America, notably Brazil, showing the strongest growth performance;

·  The combined sales of digital and physical books decreased by 2% to £3.2bn;

·  Average book prices fell by 1.3% (compared with an annual UK inflation rate of 4.47%).

Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association, said:

“Across fiction, non-fiction, children’s and academic books, the story of the year is a decline in physical sales almost being compensated for by a strong performance in digital.

“For many years now publishers have invested in innovation in digital products and services and this is being reflected in the increasingly mixed economy for books in the UK.

 “However, online copyright infringement is increasingly making its presence felt for authors and publishers and that is why we continue to call on government and other stakeholders in the digital economy to work with us to do more to tackle it, and to ensure that the UK’s ecommerce performance is as strong as it can possibly be.

“That said, physical books remain the format of choice for the vast majority of British readers, underlining the continued importance of a strong “high street” sector.

“And again, British publishing showed its strength in the international marketplace, with academic and schools / English language teaching books leading the field in British publishers’ export performance.”

The PA Statistics Yearbook 2011 is available to buy in full from The Publishers Association website,, and for the first time The PA is pleased to offer the option of purchasing individual sections.

For further information please contact Gemma Hersh at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and 020 7691 9191


Notes to Editors

The Publishers Association

The Publishers Association (PA) is the leading trade organisation serving book, journal and electronic publishers in the UK. Membership is comprised of 120 companies from across the trade, academic and education sectors.  Its core service is representation and lobbying, around copyright, rights and other matters relevant to members, who represent roughly 80% of the industry by turnover.

The PA Statistics Yearbook 2011

The PA’s Statistics Yearbook is the authoritative source of UK publishers’ performance.  It is based on a number of surveys: the ongoing Publishers Association Sales Monitor (PASM) data collection scheme, based on data compiled from c250 publishers representing 77% share of total UK publisher sales; the annual PASM Digital Survey (further details below); plus a one-off Benchmarking Exercise conducted in 2005, which compiled data from approximately 2,240 publishers, representing 100% share of total UK publisher sales.

The companies participating in the PASM Digital Survey account for over 70% of the physical book sales of all UK publishers. Taking into consideration the balance of participants in terms of category published, the PA is able to roughly calculate the total UK publishers sales of digital products in 2010 as £170m-£180m. Digital sales were defined as including e-books, audiobook downloads, downloads of all/part of books, subscriptions/access to online book publications, and any other wholly digital material delivered online or via CD-ROM.  Digital sales exclude online journals subscriptions.