E-book Sales Overtake Audiobooks, But Remain Small Fry To Publishers

UK book publishers pulled in 20 percent more digital income in 2009 – but e-books remain a small slice of the pie, and digital’s growth rate has tailed off.

Digital book sales reached over £150 million, says the Publishers Association statistics yearbook. But this income growth was slower than the 27 percent seen in 2008.

2009 Total Book Sales (£ million)

Digital makes up less than five percent of total UK book publishing sales…

2009 Digital Book Sales (£ million)

Within digital, much-hyped consumer e-book sales are still relatively small, but they overtook audiobook sales. The average consumer digital book price fell from £5.11 to £4.90 last year. Total consumer e-book sales quadrupled to £2.1 million from 2008 – and are likely to see their first big growth in 2010 thanks to new e-readers.

2009 Digital Book Sales (£ million)

Not all “digital” sales are equal – digital revenue is composed mostly of schools and professional sales, but the small amount of money in general consumer sales did triple.