Real books up, eBooks down


Figures released today by the Publishers Association shows that 2016 was a record breaking year for the publishing industry with sales of books and journals reaching £4.8bn, their highest ever level.

Highlights include:

Overall digital sales up 6% to £1.7bn despite a continuation of the drop in eBook sales down 3%
Physical sales up by 8% to £3bn on last year rising to the highest level since 2012
Europe remains the largest export market accounting for 35% of exports. More at The Publishers Association.

We expect trends to move is expected directions in the tech world, but I for one did not expect eBook sales to drop and paper books to become more popular.

I suspect that the pricing of eBooks is one factor and I am often surprised at the cost of eBooks, especially when they are priced at a higher level than the paper equivalent. Also, when I speak to people about eBooks, they almost always say that they like reading on paper and want to get away from screens. The fact that devices like the Kindle offer a non-screen experience does not matter.

Books are special to the majority and it could be that this is the one hold-out in a world where music became streamed and films became files. I guess I struggle with the idea because I have been reading eBooks for 2 decades now and I could never go back.

One thought on “Real books up, eBooks down

  1. I’ve been reading ebooks as well since having to leave behind a bookstore of books when I moved countries and not having been able to buy the English books I was after where I ended up living at the time. Now these handy books have managed to survive many a move, though I have to admit that the early ones also got lost due to format and/or OS changes. The PDF and Kindle ones still live on for now though! Most of my physical books now are teaching aids!

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