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Publishers' club lauds UK e-book sales surge

But Brits buying fewer books

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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. ®

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