Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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UK book sales down 11% for first half

In the UK, stats from the Publishers Association (PA) show that total book sales across the industry fell 11% in the first six months of the year, reports the Bookseller.

According to the PA, the total invoiced value of sales from UK publishers in all formats (including exports) was £1.5 billion (A$2.72b), down from £1.7 billion (A$3.1b) in the first half of 2019. Total sales for the UK market alone were down 6% to £837 million (A$1.51b), while exports fell 17% to £653 million (A$1.18b).

A big increase in fiction titles (up 13%), and a surge in sales of ebooks (up 26%) and audiobooks (up 47%), were outweighed by a 17% drop in print books, led by steep falls in the educational and professional sector.

Exports to Europe, Australasia and East/South Asia were each down about 15%, while sales to the Middle East/North Africa and the Other Americas region fell by a third and sales to Africa Sub-Sahara were down by a quarter.

PA CEO Stephen Lotinga said in a statement: ‘These figures show us that UK readers have returned to fiction during lockdown, turning to novels for entertainment, escapism and comfort during the first six months of this year.’

‘Incredible books such as Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror & the Light and Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other have offered people support in these difficult times,’ said Lotinga. ‘In a challenging year for the UK publishing industry, growth in digital has helped counterbalance print decreases and this has largely been driven by a combination of wonderful new writers and a resurgence of interest in the classics.’

Also in the UK, a survey by the Bookseller shows the book trade is split over whether bookshops should be classed as essential retailers, and remains wary over a second lockdown’s effects on sales and profitability this year. While the Booksellers Association (BA), Waterstones boss James Daunt and authors including Ali Smith and Salman Rushdie have called for bookshops to be reclassified as essential retail, thus allowing them to open again, only 38% of booksellers surveyed were in favour of the change.


Category: International news