April 27, 2017 Last Updated 2:12 pm

In solidarity with those who understand what is happening with eBook sales

Book publishing trade associations continue to report lower eBook sales, but their reports reflect only the sales of their members, something media reporters should have figured out long ago

This post is about blogger solidarity… that is, it is response to the frustration expressed by Nate Hoffelder over at The Digital Reader concerning the ongoing debate about eBook sales. He was reacting the recurring misreporting that eBook sales are down, when actually they are only down for the major publishers represented by the various trade associations.

Nate points to articles in some of the The Guardian, and The Telegraph, in particular, that can’t seem to get it through their heads that not all eBook sales are represented by the publishers that are members of these associations. There are other publishers, and self-publishers, that sell through other channels, and these sales won’t be included in the reports put out by the associations.

But there is another problem, that some media reporters are invested in believing that print is having a resurgence. There is, of course, no evidence for this, but faith is a powerful thing.

Now Nate covers the digital book field, but what is happening on that side of the business is happening on the magazine and newspaper side, as well. Despite falling print circulation and print advertising levels, there are those who simply want to believe that digital media may not be all its cracked up to be. I’m sure this is something that Google and Facebook are counting on. It’s likely that these print dead enders also believe in the magical power of reader revenue models, as well. OK, it they sleep better at night thinking this way, well, good for them.

Meanwhile, Amazon reports earnings after the bell today, so we’ll have to see if they agree that eBook sales are declining.

Here is the report that triggered today’s posts:


LONDON, UK — April 27, 2017 — Figures released today by the Publishers Association shows that 2016 was a record breaking year for the publishing industry with sales of books and journals reaching £4.8bn, their highest ever level.

The increase in sales of 7% on the previous year is the largest growth in a decade, when in 2007 digital was first included.

Industry growth has been fueled by success both home and abroad, with export sales rising by 6% to £2.6bn and now responsible for 54% of total revenues.

Highlights include:

  • Overall digital sales up 6% to £1.7bn despite a continuation of the drop in eBook sales down 3%
  • Physical sales up by 8% to £3bn on last year rising to the highest level since 2012
  • Europe remains the largest export market accounting for 35% of exports

Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, Stephen Lotinga, said:

“UK Publishing is a world leader and these figures confirm that the industry is flourishing due to the hard work and ingenuity of its superb publishing houses and workforce.

“All of us have at some point in our lives enjoyed the work of a great author, used a high quality textbook, or benefitted from the sharing of academic literature and that is only possible due to the continued success of the publishing industry.

“Whatever the makeup of the new government, they must ensure that any post-Brexit trade settlement it reaches with the EU and other countries reinforces this continued success.”

Photo: eBook Reader by goXunuReviews used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

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