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UK independent publishing reports growth and stability

The UK independent publishing sector is showing ‘many signs of growth’ according to the Independent Publishers Guild’s (IPG) second annual report, reports the Bookseller.

Out of the 184 IPG members who responded to the survey, 48% said their company is ‘growing’, 40% reported ‘stable sales’ and 13% said their business was contracting. The percentage of publishers experiencing growth is down marginally on last year’s survey, when 51% of publishers reported growth, 34% said it was stable and 15% reported contraction.

A majority of UK indie children’s publishers (56%) reported growth this year, although the number is down significantly from 73% in 2015. The proportion of educational book publishers who said their business is growing also fell from 73% in 2015 to 47% in 2016, as did professional book and journal publishers, down from 62% in 2015 to 46% this year.

Forty percent of respondents cited new marketing channels as the main force positively impacting their business. Promising channels include online retailers, with 52% of publishers reporting an increase in sales via the web over the past two years. Supermarket sales are increasing, with 41% of independent publishers reporting greater access to that channel. Library supplier sales was reported as having the biggest drop, with 27% of respondents reporting a decrease in orders.

Though the UK market is the strongest for most of the publishers surveyed (67%), export markets, including rights sales and co-editions, make up the majority of sales for 22% of respondents.

Ebook sales account for between one percent and 20% of overall sales for 59% of surveyed publishers, between 81% and 100% for two percent of publishers, and 26% reported no sales from ebooks.

Negative forces on the independent sector include price erosion (43%), gaps in knowledge (37%) and staffing gaps (25%).

IPG members also cited Brexit and its impact on print costs and the UK economy as the most significant issue facing the indie publishers, with staffing and cash flow also high among concerns.

IPG chief executive Bridget Shine said ‘there is no doubt that publishers face significant issues, not least since the Brexit vote, but it is hugely encouraging to see so many signs of growth and optimism among out members’.

The IPG report is compiled from the results of a questionnaire sent to all IPG members between 29 June to 7 September 2016.


Category: International news