Publishers' club lauds UK e-book sales surge
But Brits buying fewer books
Brits are buying more e-books than ever before. Sales of digital tomes in 2011 leapt 366 per cent over 2010's total, the Publishers Association said today.
Not that paper is in any danger of being displaced in the near future. The total value of e-book sales as in the UK came in at a mere six per cent of that of physical books.
That's for ordinary punters. When it comes to academic and professional book-buying the digital sales figure is more than double the consumer tally, at 13 per cent of the total.
Digital sales rose 54 per cent overall, but that figure includes not only e-books but also audiobook downloads and online subscriptions.
Punters are reading less, mind. Overall book sales irrespective of format were down two per cent, the PA said. This despite a 1.3 per cent decline in the average cover price.
And, to give the PA credit, it is pushing for cheaper e-books and has been lobbying the government to grant digital books VAT-free status, just like their paper equivalents, a move that should reduce e-book prices by 20 per cent.
But the British book business is still a £3.2bn industry, so it's still doubles all round and tweed for all, for the time being. ®
A decrease in cover price. A DECREASE in cover price? Of physcial paperbacks? My ar$$.
And even if, statistically, that is true... perhaps if publishers bothered to accommodate adequate gutters so you could read without destroying the spine. Perhaps if they did not print an inflated cover price that presupposed a multi-buy discount...
I hate the destruction of the nasty commie net book cartel. Pardon me for preferring the days of only having to make a binary choice between a £1.95 mass market Grafton or a £2.95 King Penguin and today's wonderful freedom of getting an X-Factor's wannabee biography from Asda for £3 and a literary novel where the £13 softcover is more expensive than the remaindered hardback. Thank you, free market. Fuck.
A couple of pedantic points
A tome is a big heavy book. The major advantage of e-books is that a whole library, never mind an individual book, is not big and heavy.
And if VAT at 20% is removed from an e-book, that reduces the price by approximately 17%..
But yes - I don't quite see why an e-book should attract VAT when a paper book does not....
Could not agree more - unfortunately, it reflects the society we live in.
I buy books mostly second-hand now, some great bargains to be had. Oxfam is a good source.