Publishing is an ‘export powerhouse’


Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, writes about the importance of the UK’s publishing industry.

At the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, we are incredibly proud of the UK’s publishing industry. It is fantastic to see that 2019 was its biggest year ever – with the industry growing by 3.5% to have overall sales income of £6.3 billion. It is important to me that the publishing industry continues to enjoy success, not only because it generates significant income and supports up to 70,000 jobs, and not only because we are booklovers, but also because publishing is central to the success of the wider creative industries.

For example, some of the biggest film franchises and theatrical productions of the past 25 years are based on British books and so much original source content comes from the wonderful stories written by British authors.

The figures quoted in the Yearbook 2019 prove the strength the publishing industry showed last year. It is our hope that this strength can translate to resilience as the sector adapts to the trading realities of post-pandemic Britain. The sector is an export powerhouse, with sales income from exports rising 3.3% to £3.7 billion in 2019. The UK exports more physical books than any other country in the world, helping to promote British cultural, educational, and academic ideas overseas.

The books and journals that the industry produces contribute to global cultural conversations and enrich the lives of people in the UK and around the world. We have seen that in these recent, difficult times people have found solace, entertainment, and relaxation in books. And this, of course, is something to be celebrated perhaps now more than ever.

These statistics relate to a period before the pandemic and we know publishing, along with many industries, has faced significant challenges. The government has provided unprecedented financial assistance to support businesses through the pandemic and in their recovery and we will continue to work with the publishing sector to ensure that it bounces back stronger than ever.

This article originally appeared in the Publishers Association Yearbook 2019. Find out more information about this publication here.