FALL IN BOOK SALES
jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Friday 28th June 2019
New chapter? UK print book sales fall while audiobooks surge 43%
UK book sales fell for the first time in five years in 2018, despite the success of bestsellers such as Michelle Obama’s autobiography, Becoming.
The UK publishing industry was hit by a surprise fall of £168m (5.4%) in sales of physical books last year, ending a period of growth stretching back to at least 2014.
Sales fell from £3.11bn in 2017 to £2.95bn last year, according to the latest figures from the Publishers Association, which published its annual yearbook on Wednesday.
Audiobook sales surged 43% to £69m last year, with Amazon’s Audible service dominating sales. However, Stephen Lotinga, the chief executive of the Publishers Association, said this was not the sole reason for the decline in print sales.
“One of the biggest changes has been the increase in audiobook sales,” said Lotinga. “There is some substitution away from print, audio has surged, but there was also always going to be a point where print sales couldn’t continue rising every year.”
Some of the biggest hits last year included Michelle Obama’s Becoming, published in print and as an audiobook, which is on its way to becoming the most successful memoir in modern publishing history.
Other big sellers included Joe Wicks’s The Fat-Loss Plan: 100 Quick and Easy Recipes with Workouts, Michael Wolff’s White House exposé Fire and Fury and John Grisham’s The Rooster Bar.
Lotinga said the rise in the popularity of podcasts, with the music streaming giant Spotify spending up to $500m this year buying podcast companies to tap the boom, was indirectly helping the book market.
“We think that podcasting is helping to drive a resurgence in audio in general, including books,” he said. “Publishers are investing a huge amount in building [recording] studios and securing the services of top quality actors to voice the books. We think the whole audio scene is showing huge opportunity.”
However, he warned against pronouncing the beginning of a terminal decline in physical book sales in the same way the music industry has experienced with the move from CD to streaming in the last decade.
Sales of printed books still accounted for over 80% of the combined print and digital UK book market of £3.6bn last year.
Overall, the digital book market, which as well as audiobooks includes ebook sales and subscriptions to services such as Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, rose 4.6% to £653m.
“I’m not concerned that this could be a watershed moment for the printed book, we are not there yet,” said Lotinga. “We have not seen a huge shift into subscription services, piracy is low, people still love physical books. It is a trend halt, sales are still up 8% over the last five years.”
Consumer ebook sales continued their slow decline, down 2% to £251m. Sales have fallen 20% since 2014 as rising competition for screen time from services such as Netflix, Facebook and YouTube continues to eat away at the popularity of ebooks and ereaders.
Total sales of UK-published books domestically and overseas, including income from print and digital journals, academic and reference books, rose 2% to £6bn last year.
The 25 bestselling books of 2018 (Data: Nielsen Bookscan 31/12/17-8/12/18 )
Title Author Sales
1 Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Gail Honeyman 806,469
2 This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor Adam Kay 469,825
3 The Ice Monster David Walliams 439,077
4 Lose Weight for Good: Full-flavour
Cooking for a Low-calorie Diet Tom Kerridge 399,304
5 The World’s Worst Children 3 David Walliams 344,990
6 The Midnight Line Lee Child 342,814
7 Origin Dan Brown 309,118
8 Becoming Michelle Obama 287,223
9 Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Yuval Noah Harari 273,516
10 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown Jeff Kinney 269,177
11 The Tattooist of Auschwitz Heather Morris 268,685
12 Into the Water Paula Hawkins 255,018
13 The Break Marian Keyes 245,127
14 Guinness World Records 2019 234,057
15 5 Ingredients – Quick & Easy Food Jamie Oliver 228,188
16 The Midnight Gang David Walliams 219,146
17 The Rooster Bar John Grisham 193,746
18 The Fat-loss Plan:100 Quick and Easy Recipes
with Workouts Joe Wicks 180,602
19 Camino Island John Grisham 177,746
20 First Man In: Leading from the Front Ant Middleton 165,294
21 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone JK Rowling 164,160
22 Where’s the Unicorn?: A Magical Search-and-find Book Sophie Schrey
& Jonny Marx 161,492
23 Oi Goat! Kes Gray 160,887
24 Fire and Fury Michael Wolff 159,881
25 The Girl Before JP Delaney 159,753
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
If you look the right way, you can see the whole world is a garden- James Joyce, A portrait of the Artist as a young man
Happiness is…the beauty of a good physical book to hold, caress and read with your eyes.
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
No matter how much you push the envelope, it will still be stationary
Love is… Love is…intense
TRACK OF THE DAY
Take My Breath Away (Love Theme From Top Gun) – Berlin
Highest Chart Position: No.1 8th November 1986
WHAT DAY IS IT?
Friday 28th June 2019
Happy Heart Hugs Day
International Body Piercing Day
©2019 Phil M Robinson & jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk