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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Book sales hit a record as children's fiction gains in popularity.

From The BBC

27 April 2017.

Children's fiction helped drive UK book sales to a record £3.5bn last year, the Publishers Association (PA) has said. The 6% rise came despite the waning popularity of ebooks, which saw sales fall by 3% to £538m last year. Sales of children's books rose 16% to £365m, with the increase due mainly to the purchase of printed works. Readers also flocked to fitness and self-help books, sending non-fiction sales up 9%. Revenues from fiction fell 7%, the PA's annual report said. Including journals, the PA said that the publishing industry - covering books and journals - saw a 7% increase in sales to £4.8bn. Exports rose 6% to £2.6bn, benefiting from a decline in the value of sterling, but also rising in line with domestic growth. Exports of children's books increased 34% to £116m. The export gains reversed three previous years of declines.

In 2015, adult colouring books and the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland helped the swell in physical book sales, while ebook sales fell 1.6%. This time, books on the Danish concept of hygge, which is usually translated into English as "cosiness", assisted factual sales, as well as fitness books by personal trainer Joe Wicks. While ebook sales took a hit, digital distribution helped other media. Journals made a 10% gain last year to £1.2bn, led by a jump in electronic subscriptions. "Last year, one of the most eye-catching figures from our statistics was that physical book sales were increasing while digital book sales dropped," said chief executive Stephen Lotinga. "While many will debate as to whether this trend will continue, we should not ignore the fact that digital sales beyond the domestic ebook market are growing."

[Yea, for physical book sales! Hopefully I was doing (more) than my bit for that percentage increase. I do far prefer the physicality of books to the electronic word dump onto the device of your choice. Those things, whatever you want to call them, aren’t real (or really) books. Well’ I think I may have already accumulated enough real books to last me a lifetime and they’re not going anywhere any time soon. Here’s to books, books and more books!]


VV said...

I've been researching how to do query letters and agents that are interested in past-life books (just for future reference) and noticed so many of them are looking for children's literature. I find it interesting that there's such a jump in books sales for children, when the teenagers/20-somethings I teach act like it's torture to read anything longer than a tweet.

Stephen said...

Good to hear this kind of news. I've been looking for children's books myself...but in Spanish, in the hopes of improving my ability to read more than just the basics.

Mudpuddle said...

yay, real books... there's nothing like holding paper instead of plastic...

CyberKitten said...

@ VV: I know what you mean. I know too many adults (never mind kids) who actively avoid reading (being boring is their most often used excuse) and some that are proud of the fact that they haven't read a book since High school. At the same time they think it weird (at best) that I read so much and then are *amazed* and impressed at the things I know! There seems to have been a real flourishing in children's literature in the last 10-15 years. I'm afraid that today's teenagers might be a lost generation though. I feel for you trying to teach them anything.

@ Stephen: Yes, it is heartwarming to hear that books are selling well. I was in my favourite book chain store on Friday afternoon and, as usual, it was buzzing with people including quite a few excited under 10's happily clutching books followed by proud parents. Books are definitely not dead!

CyberKitten said...

@ Mudpuddle: Couldn't agree more. E-readers are trying to recreate the book experience but it just shows how far away they are from the real deal.

Brian Joseph said...

I am always happy to see that real book sales are up.

I must sheepishly admit that I really like Ebooks however :) I find that the ability to take notes, highlight, cut and paste quotations, instant acquisition etc. to be invaluable.

CyberKitten said...

Brian, I'm not against e-books, they're just not for me. Actually I'm a firm believer in anything that gets people reading is a good thing. If its instant downloads then more power to them.