Publishers Association logo
Key facts and figures

Key Facts and Figures

Year in publishing.jpg

Sectoral overview:

  • The UK book and journal publishing industry was worth £4.8 billion in 2016, with revenues from digital contributing 35% to this.

  • Exports made up 54% (£2.6 billion) of the total UK publishing sales, rising by 6% last year.
  • Europe accounts for 35% of physical book export revenue, with sales to the Middle East and North Africa, Asia and South America increasing.

  • Publishing exports from the UK grew the fastest out of all the creative sectors from 2009-2014, jumping 166%. In 2013-14 publishing exports grew by 63%.

The wider contribution of book publishing

  • Publishing and books are also important to the wider creative industries, inspiring films, TV shows, plays and games. For example four of the top five UK box office hits in 2016 were inspired by books and UK books are behind the top three grossing film franchises of all time – James Bond, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings.
  • Academic publishers are at the forefront of research, playing an important role in investing in innovation, helping academics build on and scrutinise the work of others and helping them share and refine their own work. This helps the UK to produce world class research.
  • Despite representing just 0.9% of the world’s population and 4.1% of researchers, the UK published research accounts for 9.5% of downloads, 11.6% of citation and 15.9% of the world’s most highly-cited articles
  • Educational publishers play an important role in producing high quality learning resources which are crucial in helping pupils achieve great results as well as reducing teachers’ workload – allowing them to get on do what they do best, teach.
  • Wolf Hall, the current winner of the BAFTA award for the best drama series and Game of Thrones, current winner of the Emmy award for best Primetime drama, were both based on novels. Top West End and Broadway hits such as Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Les Miserables and Wicked were based on or adapted from novels.