Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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UK publisher consumer sales up 7% in 2020

In the UK, Publishers Association (PA) figures show UK book sales—particularly fiction and audiobooks—soared in 2020, with consumer sales up 7% on 2019 despite bookshop closures, reports the Guardian.

The value of print sales fell 6% to £3.4 billion (A$6.1b) during 2020, while total digital sales were up 12% to £3 billion (A$5.4b), accounting for 47% of book sales.

Fiction sales for UK publishers were up 16% to £688 million (A$1.2b) in 2020, led by key titles such as Maggie O’Farrell’s Women’s Prize–winner Hamnet (Tinder Press), Douglas Stuart’s Booker Prize–winner Shuggie Bain (Picador), Richard Osman’s cosy crime novel The Thursday Murder Club (Penguin), Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other (Penguin) and Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing (Corsair).

Nonfiction sales were up 4% to £1 billion (A$1.8b) and children’s sales also climbed 2% to £396 million (A$709m). Education publishing income fell 21%, led by a 27% decline in export sales.

PA CEO Stephen Lotinga said: ‘We are delighted but also a little surprised that the industry has managed to do so well. During lockdown, people had more time on their hands and were looking for escapism. There’s been a rediscovery of a love of reading.

‘Despite the overall positives, we shouldn’t ignore that it’s been a particularly challenging year for education publishers, smaller publishers, booksellers and authors whose livelihoods have been enormously disrupted,’ Lotinga added. ‘With bookshops now able to reopen, and physical events returning, we are optimistic that people will soon be able to enjoy books together again. We need to harness this return to reading and build on the huge opportunity this presents.’


Category: International news