British publishers report record sales

British publishers have reported record sales for 2012. Total spending on printed and digital books rose by 4% to £3.3bn according to the Publishers Association.

Digital spending rose by a massive 66% to £411m. The rise in digital sales doesn’t seem to have affected printed sales by as much as anticipated; however, there has been a slight drop in printed sales. Printed sales dropped by 1% down to £2.9bn.

One of the best-selling titles in 2012, was EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey. The book was bought over 10.5 million times across the world, and took the top three spots in the 2012 best sellers charts, according to figures released by Nielson.

The rise of e-readers sparked anxiety amongst publishers when first released, as it was feared they would overtake and kill off printed, physical books. But the fears have been exaggerated.

Publishers Association chief executive Richard Mollet said the figures proved that publishers had reacted quickly to the changes in the industry, and said that British publishing was ‘a healthy industry which continues to grow’.

Mr Mollet said: “What publishers were very quick to do [was] to make works available,” he told the BBC.

“That’s the key to succeeding in the digital world – having them capable of being read on any device on any platform.

“That’s what readers said they wanted and that’s what publishers have been able to provide. It’s now the case that a quarter of all fiction is read on e-readers.”

Philip Jones, editor of industry magazine The Bookseller said the ‘death’ of physical books was a long way off, as physical books sales made up around 80% of the overall market. He said: “Digital is overtaking it in some areas but not all areas, so I think the physical book is going to be with us for a long time.

“The premium physical book, the £20 hardback… attracts a certain type of person who wants to keep that book on their shelves.”

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