Last year was a bumper year for book sales, according to the Publishers Association, with total spend on printed and digital books rising by 4% to £3.3 billion in the UK. Digital spend was up by 66%, but physical book sales were down just 1%, and still represent 80% of the overall market.
So, despite fears that e-books would kill the market for printed books, it would appear that readers are embracing the different options available – and furthermore continuing to enjoy their reading. Perhaps unsurprisingly though, the Fifty Shades trilogy took all three top spots in the best-selling books of 2012.
It’s very much horses for courses. The digital market is clearly growing strongly, but whilst a quarter of all fiction is now read on an e-reader, some categories of books will still be sought after as a physical book, particularly children’s illustrated books, the beautiful photo-heavy hardback books that sit on the shelf or coffee table and the many reference books such as cookery books and manuals that are lovingly thumbed through day after day.