2012 saw the rise of the digital book and the entire book industry in the United Kingdom is growing. Total digital sales increased by over 66% to £411 million, meanwhile total fiction digital sales up 149% to over £172 million.
Richard Mollet, chief executive at the Publishers’ Association mentioned that schools and education are seeing the largest growth, but still don’t account for very much. “It’s still early days with schools, but their digital sales were up 50%, although only 4% of the total market,” he said. “In academic, digital sales were up 23% to 16% of the total market, and the overall market was just over £1bn, up 0.5% on the previous year. Because we’re such a diverse sector, there are a lot of areas where things can go right to give us the same performance next year. The underlying trend with digital innovation shows we are set fair to perform well, and if the wider economic performance improves in the coming year, that will help.”
One of the big reasons why digital soared to such great heights was the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Many people ended up buying e-readers with promotions that gave them the entire series loaded on their device and carried an anonymity factor. Publishers will have to innovate in new technologies in order to facilitate further growth.
Another big reasons digital caught on in a big way was because both Barnes and Noble and Amazon entered the market and offered their entire line of hardware and ebook distribution systems. This gave the devices more retail visibility, and as the companies battled each other for market share, it lowered the entry level prices.
Over 2,115 book publishers registered for VAT in 2012, which shows that the UK digital scene is vibrant with new players displacing the ones that go out of business. The entire UK book industry saw a modest 4% growth in both digital and tangible.