Skip to Content

Ebook sales plummet

24 April 2017

Some sensational figures have just been released showing the trend towards book sales in print form as opposed to ebook is continuing, as sales of consumer ebooks in the UK dropped by a whopping 17%. These figures exclude self-published titles, which have contributed a large proportion of the ebook sales. But more than 50% of genre sales are now reckoned to be in ebook form.

James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones said: ‘Part of the positive pressure that digital has exerted on the industry is that publishers have rediscovered their love of the physical... It's not about the death of ebooks. It's about ebooks finding their natural level. Even in the years when ebook sales were rising greatly - and clearly cannibalising physical book sales - it was always very clear that we would have a correction and reach an equilibrium. We want people to read. We don't mind how they read.'

Another remarkable thing about the figures Nielsen have produced for the Publishers Association is that UK book sales are now 54% in export, surely a worldwide record and hugely more than the US export percentage, since America naturally concentrates on its huge domestic market. Europe contributes the biggest chunk, making up 35% of the UK export market and showing how important the outcome of Brexit might be to UK publishers.

Children's books, continuing an international trend, are up by an astonishing 34%, showing the remarkable health and continuing growth of this market.

A Guardian article published today concentrates on the declining appeal of ebooks: How eBooks lost their shine: 'Kindles now look clunky and unhip'.