Digital books are on pace to outsell print in the United Kingdom by 2018, according to a new report. eBooks are poised to triple in sales in the next four years, going from £380m to £1 billion. Price-Waterhouse-Cooper also predicts that print books will decline by almost one third and account for a paltry £912 million in 2018.
UK residents are experiencing a golden age in reading. It is now possible to purchase a book at any time of the day and not be reliant in commuting to a physical bookstore. This has prompted companies like Pottermore to craft interactive narratives for children in addition to selling the digital books.
73 independent booksellers shut up shop in 2012 – more than one casualty for every week of the year – bringing the number left in the UK down to just 1,028. Most of these indie stores are all selling Kobo e-Readers and eBooks, as part of an agreement with the UK Booksellers Association. WH Smith and other major booksellers all have big tech areas, carrying a number of readers and tablets. Even grocery stores are getting into the game with Tesco recently releasing an Android app to buy/read books and also use their store points to get them for free.
Not everyone is bullish about the eBook revolution happening in the UK. Tim Waterstone, the founder of the Waterstones bookstore chain recently said “I think you read and hear more garbage about the strength of the ebook revolution than anything else I’ve known. The e-books have developed a share of the market, of course they have, but every indication – certainly from America – shows the share is already in decline. The indications are that it will do exactly the same in the UK.”
Neilsen BookData presents some conflicting data that showed eBook sales declining four weeks in May and June 2013 fell by 26% from the same period the year before.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.