UK e-Book Sales Soar as Print Hangs On

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Print book sales have dropped 3% as digital e-books gain popularity. (Photo: Sanja Gjenero)
Print book sales have dropped 3% as digital e-books gain popularity. (Photo: Sanja Gjenero)

BUSINESS

  • Digital book product sales in the UK rise 20% to £180 million (over $297 million) in 2010
  • Average digital book price in the UK is £4.56 ($7.54)
  • Global e-Book market grew 200% in 2010

The popularity of e-Books is on the rise in the UK, with digital book product sales increasing 20% to £180 million (over $297 million) in 2010.

General consumer digital sales rose fourfold to £16 million ($26.5 million), with fiction titles accounting for £6 million ($9.9 million) and £1 million ($1.65 million) apiece for non-fiction and children’s books.

Digital books have increased their presence and now represent 6% of sales in the combined print and e-Book market, according to the Publisher’s Association, a UK trade body.

Print book sales dropped around 3% last year.

Millennium Trilogy & The Fry Chronicles Boost e-Book Sales

The rise in e-Book sales was helped along by the success of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy and The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry.

However, the print market is proving its staying power, and physical and digital books will co-exist in the future, suggests Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association.

The average price for digital books in the UK is £4.56 ($7.54), rising from £3.93 ($6.50) in 2009. This figure is over £1.50 ($2.48) more than the average print book.

On a global scale, the e-Book market grew by 200% in 2010, with over 90 million books downloaded, according to a report by Futurescope Consulting.

Key Statistics – Global e-Book Market (source: Futurescope Consulting)

  • The e-Book market grew by 200% in 2010, with over 90 million books downloaded.
  • The US accounted for over 80% of global revenues, with Western Europe making up 10%.
  • By 2014, US revenues are expected to represent 50% of the global e-Book market.

By James Mulholland for
James Mulholland is a Paris-based internet and broadcast journalist specializing in sports, current affairs and technology news, while also freelancing as a photographer.

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