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Books and e-books - UK - May 2016

“Reports of the death of print, as Mark Twain might have said, have been greatly exaggerated. For those who predicted an inexorable decline of physical books, the past 18 months have necessitated a re-think. Far more than in other media sectors, book buyers and readers maintain an emotional connection with pre-digital formats.”
– John Worthington, Senior Analyst

This report examines the following areas:

  • Price is key but experiential factors remain a core strength for bookshops
  • Digital reading may be in transition but there is no mainstream challenger to e-ink on the horizon
  • Scope for a challenger platform and a packaged alternative for digital readers

Following several years of decline 2015 and 2016, to date, have seen a strong revival of print book sales and the sudden flattening in the e-book segment following previously high rates of growth – reversing the, by now, familiar narrative seen across much of the media/entertainment world of ‘physical down, digital up’. Amazon retains dominance of distribution right across the market, but bricks and mortar sellers are learning to adapt to this reality and playing more to their own particular strengths, although they appear to have effectively abandoned the digital space to the online giant.

The short-term future, assuming UK economic growth (now slowing) continues, looks brighter for the book trade than for some time, but in the longer term all those with a stake in the market – publishers, retailers, authors, educators, librarians etc – face the challenge of engaging new generations of digital natives who have so many distractions and alternative forms of content to choose from other than books.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • Print up as consumer confidence returns to book market
            • Figure 1: Forecast of total consumer print book market sales, 2010-20
          • But e-book growth hits the buffers
            • Figure 2: Forecast of total consumer e-book market sales, 2010-20
          • E-reader sales dry up but Amazon sees Oasis of opportunity
            • Figure 3: Household ownership of consumer technology products, January 2013-December 2015
          • Amazon print penetration up seven points…
            • Figure 4: Retailers used to buy print books in the past 12 months, April 2014 and March 2016
          • …and its e-book dominance remains unchecked
            • Figure 5: Retailers used to buy e-books in the past 12 months, April 2014 and March 2016
          • Readers still get physical
            • Figure 6: Ways of reading books in the past 12 months, April 2014 and March 2016
          • Millennials offer new revenue potential
            • Figure 7: Ways of adding value to the book buying process, March 2016
          • What we think
          • Issues and Insights

            • Price is key but experiential factors remain a core strength for bookshops
              • The facts
                • The implications
                  • Digital reading may be in transition but there is no mainstream challenger to e-ink on the horizon
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                        • Scope for a challenger platform and a packaged alternative for digital readers
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                            • The Market – What You Need to Know

                              • Print growth continuing into 2016
                                • Market fragmented beyond leading players
                                  • Waterstone’s strategy for success on high street
                                    • Agency deals contribute to e-book stagnation
                                      • Pockets of digital growth
                                        • E-reader ownership reaches plateau at three in ten adults
                                          • Industry trying to find sustainable digital ‘sub’ model
                                          • Market Size and Forecast

                                            • Print revival driving market growth
                                              • Figure 8: Value of total consumer book market sales, 2010-20
                                              • Figure 9: Value of total consumer market print book sales, 2010-20
                                            • But e-books sales growth has stalled
                                              • Figure 10: Value of total consumer market e-book sales, 2010-20
                                            • Forecast
                                              • Figure 11: Forecast of total consumer book market sales, 2010-20
                                              • Figure 12: Forecast of total consumer print book market sales, 2010-20
                                              • Figure 13: Forecast of total consumer e-book market sales, 2010-20
                                          • Market Share and Segmentation

                                            • Market leader sees 9% value growth in 2015
                                              • Figure 14: Value of consumer market print book sales, by leading publishers, 2011-15
                                            • Big five see digital sales decline
                                              • Figure 15: Volume of consumer market e-book sales, by ‘big five’ publishers, 2011-15
                                            • Digital maintains large slice of fiction
                                              • Figure 16: The UK physical book market end purchase sales by category, 2010-14
                                            • Romance and graphic novels lead print revival in fiction
                                              • Figure 17: Value of consumer market print book sales, by type of book, 2015
                                              • Figure 18: Value of consumer market print book fiction sales, by genre, 2015
                                            • Colouring craze drives non-fiction growth
                                              • Figure 19: Value of consumer market print book non-fiction sales, by genre, 2015
                                          • Market Background

                                            • Confidence returns to high street
                                              • But independent picture is more mixed
                                                • Role of campaigns
                                                  • Impact of library closures
                                                    • Instant gratification
                                                      • E-reader ownership flat but no migration to mobile
                                                        • Figure 20: Household ownership of consumer technology products, January 2013-December 2015
                                                      • Waterstones removes Kindle but Amazon intensifies e-book domination
                                                        • Upward price pressure on e-books
                                                          • Digital subscriptions are a work in progress
                                                            • EU investigations could affect Amazon
                                                            • Launch Activity and Innovation – What You Need to Know

                                                              • Boutique bookshops
                                                                • Events and communities
                                                                  • Re-inventing the book
                                                                    • Short and fast versus long and slow
                                                                    • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                        • Designer bookstores
                                                                          • Meet the author
                                                                            • WH Smith targeting young adult readers
                                                                              • Book/app hybrids
                                                                                • Designed for digital
                                                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                  • Amazon consumer penetration up seven points
                                                                                    • Bookshops can up their online game
                                                                                      • Apple – The sleeping book giant?
                                                                                        • Will digital natives embrace mobile books?
                                                                                          • Tangibility and browsing remain key emotional factors
                                                                                            • Communities of engagement
                                                                                              • Beyond text
                                                                                              • Book Buying Habits

                                                                                                • Two thirds of adults buy books
                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Book formats bought in the past 12 months, March 2016
                                                                                                • Audiobook potential
                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Type of books bought in the past 12 months, March 2016
                                                                                                  • Brands can help kids develop reading habit
                                                                                                  • Book Retailers Used

                                                                                                    • Amazon reaps benefit of print revival
                                                                                                      • Figure 23: Retailers used to buy print books in the past 12 months, April 2014 and March 2016
                                                                                                    • Books used to sell lifestyle brands
                                                                                                      • Amazon’s online dominance unchallenged
                                                                                                        • Virtual book shops
                                                                                                          • Figure 24: Retailers used to buy print books in the past 12 months, in-store and online, April 2014 and March 2016
                                                                                                        • Low channel-hopping
                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Number of retailers used to buy print books in the past 12 months, March 2016
                                                                                                        • Amazon still the only major digital player in town
                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Retailers used to buy e-books in the past 12 months, April 2014 and March 2016
                                                                                                      • How Books Are Read

                                                                                                        • E-reader declines but no tablet/smartphone growth
                                                                                                            • Figure 27: Ways of reading books in the past 12 months, April 2014 and March 2016
                                                                                                          • E-book buyers show some device diversity
                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Ways of reading books in the past 12 months, by e-book buyers, March 2016
                                                                                                          • Bookshops missing out on digital
                                                                                                            • Overall reading habits point to male problem
                                                                                                            • What Factors Are Important to Book Buyers?

                                                                                                              • Price is key factor overall
                                                                                                                • But ‘pre-digital’ emotional values remain important
                                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Influential factors in how people buy books, factors rated 4 or 5, March 2016
                                                                                                                  • Speed of delivery also important
                                                                                                                    • Beautiful books and beautiful bookshops
                                                                                                                      • Experts versus algorithms
                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Influential factors in how people buy books, March 2016
                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Factors influencing how people buy books, factors rated 4 or 5, print book versus e-book buyers, March 2016
                                                                                                                      • Digital books in transit
                                                                                                                        • Transferability seen as key factor by digital readers
                                                                                                                        • Potential Ways of Engaging Book Buyers

                                                                                                                          • Millennial potential
                                                                                                                            • Bookshops as event venues
                                                                                                                              • Figure 32: Ways of adding value to the book buying process, March 2016
                                                                                                                            • Exclusive content
                                                                                                                              • New horizons
                                                                                                                                • Print/digital combinations
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Ways of adding value to the book buying process, print book buyers versus digital book buyers, March 2016
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Ways of adding value to the book buying process, by ways people read books, March 2016
                                                                                                                              • Appendix

                                                                                                                                • Definition
                                                                                                                                  • Abbreviations

                                                                                                                                  Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                  To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                  Books and e-books - UK - May 2016

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