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eBook sales fall, print sales up – what’s the story?

Over the last five years eBook growth has been a major consideration for publishers, but after a long plateau the Publishers Association (PA) revealed that digital revenues for trade publishers had fallen by 19% in the first six months of the year.

It seems the UK’s love affair with the printed book is far from over as more readers return to print or become hybrid readers. Figures showed that in the last six months, sales of physical books have increased by 1%, driven by a 6% increase in physical consumer book sales. This continues a rise in the sales of print books, which was seen in 2015 for the first time since the invention of the e-book.

Despite this, digital revenues for education and English Language Teaching were strong, increasing by 32%. Academic/professional digital revenues were also up by 9% and physical and digital schoolbook sales were up by 7% and children’s sales rose by 5%. Audiobook revenues also continue to grow, with downloads increasing by 24% to £6m.

Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive of the PA said, “Publishers are increasingly using digital tools to make content more adaptable, personal and accessible than ever before. But there is a unique pleasure in reading a physical book, and these figures show that consumers are finding that this is not something digital books can easily replace.”

As these models continue to shift in trade publishing, it opens up the question – how will this impact the self-published writer, many of whom have been heavily reliant on ebooks sales pushed through direct publishing programmes.

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