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Book Sales up in UK but Predicted down in US

13 May 2002

According to the latest Book Marketing Ltd figures, consumer spending on books in the UK rose by 5% in 2001 and unit sales were up from 336 million to 345 million, an increase of 3%. Growth came mostly from paperback fiction and non-fiction bought for adults. However, in spite of the 'Harry Potter effect', unit sales of children's books fell for the fourth year running, from 109 million to 104 million.

This relatively positive set of figures is in contrast to the US, where the Book Industry Study Group has just predicted that the total number of units sold (across all book segments) will fall from 2.41 billion in 2001 to 2.39 billion in 2002. This figure takes all domestic book sales into account, but 2001 was in any case a poor year in the US book trade. An economic slowdown in the early part of the year was followed by the body-blow of 11th September. Looking forward, the current view is that there will be 2% growth in consumer spending on books in 2002, but that there will no significant improvement for the book trade until 2004.