Sales of printed books slump in 2012

The Fifty Shades series has sold over 65m copies worldwide and is being adapted for the big screen

4 January 2013 Last updated at 11:40

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-20908048

Sales of printed books fell by almost £74m in the UK last year, according to data from Nielsen BookScan.

In total, readers spent £1.514bn on physical books in 2012, down 4.6% from 2011.

The rate of decline slowed slightly, principally because of EL James’ Fifty Shades trilogy, which accounted for one in every 20 books bought last year.

E-books continued to be popular, accounting for 13-14% of book sales.

That marked an increase of about 5% from 2011, but the value of the entire book market shrank because of heavy discounting of digital titles – with many bestsellers retailing for less than a pound.

Data collected on the sales of physical books records around 90-95% of all consumer sales in the UK, but is less robust for the e-book market.

However, Philip Stone from Bookseller said figures from Nielsen/Kantar show: “In essence, people are buying more books but they are paying less for them.”

The second half of 2012 was stronger for physical book sales, as blockbuster titles from authors including JK Rowling and Jamie Oliver hit the shelves for Christmas.

In the 26 weeks to 30 June, sales were down by £51m year-on-year to £624m. Between July and December, sales were down £23m to £889m.

It was only in July and December that print sales were up compared with 2011, in part due to the success of James’ erotic series and the Christmas trade.

The Fifty Shades trilogy is about a steamy romance between entrepreneur Christian Grey and literature student Anastasia Steele. It sold a combined 10.6m copies in print in the UK last year, making £47.3m.

The tally beat JK Rowling’s record of £42.6m from 2007, the year when the final Harry Potter novel was released.

The first book in the series, Fifty Shades of Grey, is now the best-selling novel of all time in the UK.


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3 Responses to Printed Book sales slump in 2012

  1. What we are seeing is the destruction of the physical book you can actually own. Now they want you to rent these e-books which can be destroyed with a blink of an eye if they do desire. Over time paper books will become extinct and there will be no need for the Government to even bother with a Fahrenheit 451 type scenario of burning books. Do not forget that you do not own the book you thought you bought, its rented and many a time riddled with DRM protection stopping you from transferring it from one medium to another. Have they forgot about the planned obsolescence agenda where devices break within five minutes? What happens then to your rented trash or what if you want to pass it on to your family member? Ask Bruce Willis on that one! Did you also forget that each time you want to read your book you end up needing to spend money via electric? What about if they want to censor parts of books in the future? Are you sure they cannot malware out your book’s paragraphs?

    -= The Unhived Mind

  2. enki says:

    i keep most of my books on a pdf file on my flash drive, i am also thinking of getting a exterior harddrive and just start hoarding books for just incase, its amazing how many books you can have with only just 1 gb imagine a 1terabyte amount of books.

    but agree with you in the future books will be easily controlled. also editing them will be easier, unless you have a offline copy.

    • Yes but make sure you keep an old computer that can view and play your files because in the future the next generation machines may ban or alter files and thats if you are lucky they end up reading them.

      -= The Unhived Mind

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