UK publisher sales rose 5% to £6.7 billion in 2021, a new high for the industry. This included books, journals and rights/co-editions sales combined.
Total UK sales income rose 7% to £2.7 billion. Total export sales income rose 2% to £3.8 billion.
Key findings include:
- Total print up 5% to £3.5 billion
- Total digital up 5% to £3.2 billion
- Consumer books up 4% to £2.2 billion
- Fiction up 7% to £733 million
- Non-fiction up 1% to £1.1 billion
- Children’s up 7% to £425 million
- Audio downloads up 14% to £151 million
Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association:
“2021 was another tremendous year for UK publishing. Our outstanding authors provided readers with the entertainment and comfort they so badly needed as the pandemic continued. It’s been particularly interesting to see TikTok communities driving new interest in books – particularly of fiction and Young Adult titles.
“While the industry has done well during the pandemic, we have also seen further consolidation of sales on a single digital market platform. Such a lack of competition cannot benefit readers in the long-term and that is why it is more important than ever that the government meets its commitment to bring forward new powers to properly regulate the tech giants in the forthcoming Queen’s speech.”
How did consumer publishing perform?
- UK market up 2% to £1.5 billion
- Export market up 8% to £727 million
- Print up 5% to £1.8 billion
- Digital down 1% to £416 million
How did education publishing perform?
- Total education publishing income up 5% to £552 million (down from £668 million in 2019 and the only sector not to have returned to pre-pandemic levels)
- UK market up 12% to £198 million
- Export market up 1% to £354 million (much lower than £482 million in 2019)
- Print up 1% to £467 million (much lower than £606 million in 2019)
- Digital up 28% to £85 million
How did academic publishing perform?
- Total academic publishing income up 4% to £3.5 billion
- UK market up 14% to £1 billion
- Export market £2.4 billion (no change)
- Print £862 million (no change)
- Digital up 5% to £2.6 billion
- Books up 8% to £1.1 billion
- Journals up 2% to £2.3 billion
You can find our Publishing in 2021 report here.