Publishers Association Yearbook 2020 released

NewsPress Release
Publishers Association Yearbook 2020

Today the Publishers Association releases their complete 2020 Yearbook which includes extensive data about how the publishing industry fared during the Covid-19 pandemic. A shorter document with the key figures – Publishing in 2020 – was released in April 2021.

The headlines

In 2020, the combined value of UK publisher sales of books, journals and rights/co-editions rose 2% to £6.4 billion. UK sales income rose 4% to £2.5 billion while export sales income remained steady at £3.7 billion.

The invoiced value of UK publisher sales of books for export fell 8% in 2020, to £1.5 billion. A 12% decrease in print sales drove this fall despite an 11% growth in revenue from digital book exports.

Other key statistics include:

  • Total print down 6% to £3.4 billion
  • Total digital up 12% to £3 billion
  • Consumer publishing sales income rose 7% to £2.1 billion
  • Fiction up 16% to £688 million
  • Non-fiction up 4% to £1 billion
  • Audio downloads up 37% to £133 million
  • Children’s up 2% to £396 million


Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, writes in his introduction, ‘In this extraordinary year, the world relied on books, scientific research and learning resources more than ever before. Of course, we also encountered significant unforeseen difficulties and different areas of publishing experienced the pandemic differently. This range of experience is brought to life in these figures.’

The Publishers Association Yearbook 2020 provides a detailed view of how the top export markets performed as well as in-depth analysis of each publishing sector.

Publishing exports

In 2020, UK export sales income from our top three export markets – the United States, Australia and Germany – all increased. However, income from other key markets including the Netherlands, UAE, Spain and India fell.

Despite the pandemic, exports accounted for 58% of income. Exports are crucial to our publishing industry and this figure illustrates the importance of maintaining strong copyright laws. The Save Our Books campaign will continue to advocate for this.

How to access the Yearbook

The Publishers Association Yearbook 2020 is a digital publication, freely available to Publishers Association members while non-members can purchase it for £95.