Study of Reading Habits

The Publishers Association Book Industry Statistics for 2010 showed the following:

UK publishers sold an estimated 739 million books in 2010, with an invoiced value of £3.115 million. While unit sales were 3.2 percent lower than in 2009, the invoiced value grew by 8 percent.

The total value of UK book exports was £1.254 million, up from £1.203 million in 2009.

The value of the UK book market in 2008, at end purchaser prices, is estimated to have been £3.4 billion. This was 1.6 percent lower than in 2009.

According to Nielson Books, consumer retail sales of books fell by 3.2 percent in 2010, with a decrease in volume sales of 4.3 percent. The decline is said to be due to a number of factors, including bad weather, the loss of Borders at the end of 2009, and the uncertain economic market.

At the same time, digital sales significantly increased to an estimated £170-180 million, representing 5-6 percent of combined digital and retail sales in 2010. This shows a 38 percent on 2009, with sales of academic and professional titles doubling. These titles amounted to 72 percent of total digital book sales.

Nielsen Bookdata recorded the total number of titles being published in the UK as 151,969 in 2010, down from 157,039 in 2009. This may in part be due to large numbers of indepedent and self publishers issuing books in digital format only, without the need for an ISBN. At the same time, the number of UK publishers registering for their first ISBN in 2010 rose by 4.8 percent to 3151 against 3007 in 2009. This is bno doubt also due to the rise in independent and self publishing.

The bad news for such (indeed all) publishers is that the average discount given on a book’s recommended retail price increased slightly to 26 percent, against 25.5 percent in 2009.