Thu 21 November 2019
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Publishers keep passing the open windows
The unvarnished truth is that e-books are keeping our heads above water, but the pace of change is also hindering our capacity to swim

The publication of the latest e-book and physical book numbers show how far the publishing industry has gone in a short period of time, where it is going, but sadly not how to get there. The unvarnished truth is that e-books are keeping our heads above water, but the pace of change is also hindering our capacity to swim.

For the first time the data, published in the Publishers Associations Statistics Yearbook 2011, shows an industry where digital transference is real: those bits of the business that are growing in digital did well, those which are not, did less well. The overall physical and digital market was down, by 2% to £3.2bn, without the digital bit the fall was steeper, by 4.8%. The best performing category was fiction, but only because with sales of e-book novels up by £54m (to £70m), they almost compensated for the £57m fall in physical fiction sales.

And this is no one-off. The figures show sales of digital fiction accelerating over the years, up 331% in 2011, after growing 299% in 2010, and 277% in 2009. As a result fiction increased its share of digital sales from 10% to 29% in 2011. This is almost double the share fiction takes in the overall physical book market: showing how far ahead of the pack novels are in the digital shift.

For the rest of the article

FutureBook: The Bookseller
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