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One Third of Publishers' Revenues are Digital

One Third of Publishers’ Revenues are Digital

London, 2 May 2014 - The Publishers Association Statistics Yearbook 2013 (PASY) published today highlights how the revenues from books and academic journals in the UK stand at £4.7 billion, with £1.5 billion (29%) of these being derived from digital services.

In the UK’s £3.4 billion books market, digital and physical shares are at a moment of equilibrium.  Over the past five years, the overall value of combined physical and digital books sales has risen by 6% at the same time as physical sales have declined by 6% and digital sales risen by 305%. Digital sales have doubled in the last two years and now stand at £509 million.

The UK Journals market – analysed for the first time in the PASY – stands at £1.3 billion, with £850 million coming from digital services.  The sector has grown 4% in the last two years of measurement.

As has been the case for the past four years, the two best performing digital sectors remain Fiction and Academic Text books, making up 39% and 42% of the £509m digital sales market.  In fiction, the share taken by digital has leapt from 25% to 33% - and by even more in some categories.

Education publishers showed a particularly strong performance: compared with last year books sales rose 2% to £296m, with digital sales rising 18% to £16m.

Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association said "The Publishers Association Statistics Yearbook provides an excellent perspective from which to evaluate the development of digital publishing in the UK.  It shows revenues from books at an interesting equilibrium moment with the total growth up by the same figure as physical sales are declining; showing that digital sales are fully pulling their weight in the market.

“Last year’s performance -  largely driven by the “50 Shades” effect - was always going to be hard to beat and so there is a decline in the overall sales figure of 2%, but this year’s figures show the sector back on trend and enjoying steady growth. 

“And for the first time we are able to provide strong analysis of the academic journals market and we can see that this is an online sector as big as academic text books and nearly twice the size of fiction.

“Although there is a decline in physical sales, the fact there is a £2.8bn market for physical books, some £400m of which is in fiction, demonstrates that there remains a strong bond between the British reader and the physical book.

“It is no accident that publishing’s digital performance is so strong.  Publishers have a strong historical record in driving innovation, providing products and services for readers appropriate to the digital age.  This innovation takes place within the framework of copyright law.  Time and again there are those who challenge the role of copyright in the digital age; and time and again publishers demonstrate that it remains the best means by which to give readers digital services, ensure authors and the companies which invest in them are rewarded, and sustain the UK’s export performance.”.

Other figures of note from The PA Statistics Yearbook are:

  • Export revenues 43% of overall book sales, an increase from 42% last year.
  • Digital book sales have increased from £258m in 2011 to £509m in 2013.
  •  Total physical and digital book sales have fallen from £3.5bn in 2012 to £3.4bn in 2013.
  •  Consumer ebooks now represent 52% of publishers’ total digital sales, up from 37% in 2011.
  •  33% of fiction sales are digital.
  •  Sales of consumer ebooks have increased 18% to £263m. Sales of non-consumer books have increased 49% to £94m.
  •  Non-fiction reference books have seen a 36% rise in digital sales to £55m.
  •  The academic and professional books market has increased digital sales by 19% to £216m leading to 1% growth in the sector

PA members have free access to the PA statistics yearbook 2013. Otherwise it is available to order through the PA online bookshop