Books - UK - December 2009
The books market has proved more resilient than many other consumer sectors: an overall 1% decline in 2009 to £3.42 billion is expected primarily as a result of recession. However, value sales would be higher were it not for the extent of price-cutting by the supermarkets and Amazon.
- Digital technology has started to achieve real visibility in the marketplace, with more affordable e-readers making headway in sales for the first time.
- The iPod/iPhone phenomenon has enabled rapid growth in audiobooks and more recently also in e-books. While digitalisation, combined with the power of the social web, is also leading to new developments in self-publishing and both downloads and print-on-demand.
- Around seven in ten consumers are readers and buyers. But the key readers are upmarket women, especially the childless third agers, whereas men are keener on non-fiction and more likely to buy hardbacks.
- Despite all the challenges, the UK book market will remain strong, fuelled by creativity in writing and production and an enthusiastic readership. Scope for growth in volume sales exists as the number of ABC1s, over-45s and graduates increases, all of whom read more than average.
- More negative factors remain, in particular a tough retailing environment, discounting and the potential impact of e-books.
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