Latest UK Book Publishing Statistics Show Stable Market

In Global Trade Talk by Hannah Johnson

laptop with charts

By Hannah Johnson

According to the latest statistics released by The Publishers Association, the UK book publishing industry was stable in 2014 and valued at 4.3 billion pounds. Digital products account for 35% of the industry’s total revenue, and export sales account for 44%.

On the digital side, academic publishers have pushed ahead of other sectors, with 79% of all subscription income coming from electronic journals. In consumer fiction, ebooks account for 37% of the value of that segment. Increases in digital sales were seen across the industry in 2014: children’s digital sales up 11%, digital academic textbooks up 17%, audiobook downloads up 24%, and digital educational materials up 20%.

“It is great to see digital growth continuing and developing in more sectors of publishing,” said Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association. “The rise in children’s digital sales, while perhaps unsurprising given 71% of households now own a tablet, is testament to the innovation taking place in children’s publishing and the engaging content being produced.”

Despite a 2% decline in overall book sales, the PA reports that UK publishers have seen a rise in export sales of 28% over the previous year. ELT materials are the strongest segment in terms of volume. Sales to the Middle East/North Africa and East and Southeast Asia grew the most at 8% and 14% respectively.

Said Mollet: “The big debate for publishing is no longer about electronic versus print, because the clear answer is ‘both’; but the real question now is about demonstrating the strength and value of publishers’ curated and valuable content, in a world where unfiltered information is becoming more and more widespread.

“These figures also point to the importance of being diverse both in terms of format and international markets, so that opportunities can be maximized and risked minimized.”

The Publishers Association Statistics Yearbook is the industry’s annual authoritative analysis of the performance of the publishing sector. Copies and/or specific chapters can be bought from The PA’s website.

About the Author

Hannah Johnson


Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.