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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

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Rashkae March 19, 2014 um 6:38 pm

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

Nate Hoffelder March 19, 2014 um 7:01 pm

I believe it is based on interviews of consumers.

Self-Published eBooks Accounted for Half of the Growth of the UK eBook Market in 2013 – The Digital Reader September 23, 2014 um 1:06 pm

[…] (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 […]

Is the Canadian eBook Market Leveling Off? – The Digital Reader September 23, 2014 um 2:23 pm

[…] 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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