UK eBook Market Grew by 20% in 2013

Nielsen hasamazon-kindle-uk revealed today that ebook purchases in the UK rose by 20% in 2013, with self-published titles making up one sale in five.

The details were released at the at the Nielsen Books & Consumers Conference on Wednesday, and according to Nielsen researcher Steve Bohme the UK ebook market reached £300 £80 million in 2013. eBooks accounted for about 1 in 4 book purchases last year, but they also represented a far smaller share of the market than one might assume.

Like the US, paper books still dominate the UK book market, with an estimated £2.2 billion spent on them in 2013. This is about a 4% drop in sales from 2012, which had two blockbuster releases (Hunger Games and 50 Shades).

Update: There were a number of errors in the source article in The Bookseller. The Uk ebook market was actually worth £300 million, with an estimated 80 million units sold.

Nielsen’s stats peg the UK ebook market at 3.5% of the overall UK book market. This would seem to be rather low to me, given that ebooks accounted for 25% of unit sales, but I suppose that if readers were buying a large volume of free ebooks, that might be throwing the calculations.

Self-published ebooks accounted for one in five ebook purchases, but they only represented 12% of the money spent. Given that self-published ebooks often sell for less than books from legacy publishers, this makes sense.

It would also explain why Nielsen has noticed a drop in the average selling price of ebooks. “The rise in self-publishing meant that in 2013, the average price paid for fiction e-books dropped to around 60% of that paid for fiction paperbacks,” Bohme said.

The Bookseller

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Rashkae19 March, 2014

    No one yet reporting how exactly Nielson is claiming they measured the self-pub to publisher purchases…. is this all based on survey data?

    1. Nate Hoffelder19 March, 2014

      I believe it is based on interviews of consumers.

  2. […] (even in a year when print sales are down 10%), but they also account for a noticeable share of the £300 million that was spent on ebooks in the UK last […]

  3. […] I personally have trouble believing that Canada has unique market conditions that would preclude further growth, not when the UK saw a 20% growth rate in 2013. On the other hand, it is worth noting that with 20% of consumers’ book funds spent on ebooks, the Canadian ebook market is more mature than the UK market, where ebooks still made up less than 5% of sales in 2013. […]


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