According to the Digital Sales Monitor April 2014, digital sales (including both ebooks and audiobooks) reached £132.5 million in the January-April period, up 10.5% from £119.9 million in the same period in 2013. The PA reports that digital sales represented 16% of total book sales, or about four times what they were 5 years ago.
Audiobook sales increased 22% to £2.6 million, while consumer ebook sales increased by 10% from £71.3 million to £78.6 million. Breaking that 10% down, the children’s/YA segment grew by 33% while digital sales of fiction increased 8%, with a 10% rise in sales of adult non-fiction. Sales of academic and professional ebooks rose 7.5% to £17.6 million, while online subscriptions (a segment not usually reported by the AAP) saw a sharp rise of 17% to £30 million.
In compassion, the AAP reported last week that US ebook sales rose 5% in the first quarter, while audiobooks grew by 24%. Children’s ebooks were the standout performer, growing by 31%.
The UK data is estimated to cover about 75% of the total UK publisher digital sales, and obviously excludes self-published ebooks. It’s also lacking any info from Amazon’s publishing divisions or new, digital-only publishers, so naturally it offers a less than complete view of the UK ebook market. I would also bet that the 75% estimate is off significantly, but then again I don’t work for a legacy trade group.
That 16% of sales represents the second highest ebook market share, following the US where ebooks are believed to be around 30% of the trade book market.But it is also curiously low; a poll in March found that ebook adoption in England had reached 29%. Alas, more people are reading ebooks than buying them.
image by Dave Straven