2021
9
UK Books and E-Books Market Report 2021
2021-11-05T03:08:23+00:00
OX1050083
2195
144189
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Report
en_GB
“While growth will slow moving forwards, the pandemic created an increased appetite for reading, with the digital market gaining many new customers. The reopening of stores and reduced restrictions will…

UK Books and E-Books Market Report 2021

£ 2,195 (Excl.Tax)

Description

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the UK Books and e-books market, including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Although the COVID-19 outbreak brought renewed appetite for reading, the proportion of people buying books in the last year has fallen back to 61% in August 2021, compared with 67% in July 2020. With bookstores closed for much of 2020 and the first four months of 2021, many businesses have struggled to survive. However, this has also increased the market share of the e-books market, due to the convenience of rapid online orders and digital downloads.

Book purchasing peaked during the first lockdown, with people eagerly ordering both physical books and downloading digital titles. The vaccine rollout and reopening of stores in April 2021 should provide a boost to print sales and help independent shops.

As restrictions have eased, people have returned to out-of-home leisure activities and are socialising more, reducing the time for reading. While the return of customers to stores has been a huge boost, there are potential difficulties on the horizon with delays in the supply chain and staffing shortages due to the impact of the pandemic and Brexit.

The launch of Bookshop.org provides a strong opportunity for the independent book market. The site brings a vital online presence for smaller bookstores and offers consumers a new alternative to Amazon. It is now vital for local independent bookstores to raise awareness of the site in the community to let customers now how they can support to shop while ordering online.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our Media, Books and Stationary market research.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on the books and e-books market.
  • Forecast of UK publisher sales of consumer print books and digital books.
  • Trends in book buying and reading habits.
  • Preferred book genres.
  • Important factors when buying books.
  • Consumer attitudes towards books.

Covered in this report

Brands: Waterstones, Audible, Amazon, Bookshop.org, Blackwell, Penguin Random House, Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury, Harper Collins, Faber & Faber, Literati, BingeBooks, Wonderbly, Lifebook Ltd, Mirror Books, Bibliophile Books, Macmillan Publishing Ltd, Canongate Books, Simon & Schuster Publishers, Signature Gifts, Lost My Name Ltd.

While growth will slow moving forwards, the pandemic created an increased appetite for reading, with the digital market gaining many new customers. The reopening of stores and reduced restrictions will boost the print market, although there remains disruption in the supply chain due to both COVID-19 and Brexit. Independent bookstores will benefit as people return to shops, while the launch of Bookshop.org will provide smaller stores with a key online presence and offer consumers more choice away from Amazon.

Thomas Slide - Research AnalystThomas Slide
Category Director – Media and Technology

 

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Products covered in this Report
    • Market Context
    • Economic and other assumptions
  2. Executive Summary

    • Impact of COVID-19 on books
      • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on books and e-books, prepared October 2021
    • The Market
    • Growth set to slow but lockdown has created a larger market
    • Print receives a boost as bookstores reopen
      • Figure 1: Market forecast for UK publishers UK sales of consumer print books, (net invoiced value), 2016-26
    • The digital books segment is approaching peak sales levels after rapid growth
      • Figure 2: Market forecast for UK publishers UK sales of consumer digital books (net invoiced value), 2016-26
    • Companies and Brands
    • Waterstones’s profits fall as COVID-19 measures lead to rising costs
    • Amazon strengthens its position in print and digital books
    • The full launch of Bookshop.org is the biggest innovation of the last year
    • The Consumer
    • Younger demographics are more likely to have returned to book shops
      • Figure 3: Bookstore visiting following COVID-19 outbreak, 2020-2021
    • Bookshop closures reduce opportunities to buy books
      • Figure 4: Book buying habits (net), 2019, 2020 and 2021
    • Paperback fiction continues to be the most popular book purchase
    • Audiobook purchasing is focused on younger demographics
      • Figure 5: Book buying habits, 2020 and 2021
    • The proportion reading books has fallen back after the peak of the first lockdown
      • Figure 6: Book reading habits by format (NET), 2019- 2021
    • Older readers are more likely to turn to print books
    • Reading on smartphones is very popular with 16-24s
      • Figure 7: Book reading habits by format, 2019- 2021
    • Drama and thrillers are the most commonly read fiction books
      • Figure 8: Fiction book genres, 2021
    • Autobiographies and biographies are the most popular non-fiction of the last year
      • Figure 9: Non-fiction Book genres, August 2021
    • Having a favourite author is the most important purchase factor
    • Social media activity is growing in importance for young readers
      • Figure 10: Important factors when buying books, 2021
    • The majority of readers prefer to browse for books
    • Preference for independent bookshops will boost Bookshop.org
      • Figure 11: Attitudes towards books, 2021
  3. Issues and Insights

    • Bookshop.org offers new opportunities for independents after a difficult year
    • Utilise the TikTok book trend to engage with Generation Z
  4. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • Strong growth in book sales in 2021 will not be sustained over the next five years
    • Digital book sales are approaching peak levels and will fall back
    • COVID-19 and Brexit-related supply issues are a growing issue for print books
  5. Market Size and Performance

    • Impact of bookstore closures offset by strong digital sales
      • Figure 12: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on books and e-books, prepared October 2021
    • Increased appetite for reading drives growth in the book market
      • Figure 13: UK publishers UK sales of total consumer books, (net invoiced value), 2016-21
    • Print sales surge despite lockdown bookstore closures
      • Figure 14: UK publishers UK sales of consumer print books, (net invoiced value), 2016-21
    • Covid-19 pandemic drives growth of digital books
      • Figure 15: UK publishers UK sales of consumer digital books (net invoiced value), 2016-21
  6. Market Forecast

    • Growth set to slow but lockdown has created a larger market
      • Figure 16: Market forecast for UK publishers UK sales of consumer books, (net invoiced value), 2016-26
      • Figure 17: UK publishers UK sales of consumer books, (net invoiced value), 2016-26
    • Print receives a boost as shoppers return to bookstores
      • Figure 18: Market forecast for UK publishers UK sales of consumer print books, (net invoiced value), 2016-26
      • Figure 19: UK publishers UK sales of consumer print books, (net invoiced value), 2016-26
    • Digital books segment approaching its peak after rapid growth
      • Figure 20: Market forecast for UK publishers UK sales of consumer digital books (net invoiced value), 2016-26
      • Figure 21: UK publishers UK sales of consumer digital books (net invoiced value), 2016-26
    • Market drivers and assumptions
      • Figure 22: Key drivers affecting Mintel’s Market Forecast, 2015-25 (Prepared 27 September 2021)
    • Forecast methodology
  7. COVID-19 Scenario Performance

    • Mintel’s approach to predicting the impact of COVID-19
    • Fundamental differences in how COVID-19 is affecting consumer markets
    • Rapid COVID recovery would boost total book sales
      • Figure 23: COVID-19 scenario forecasts, total consumer books, 2016-26
    • Extended disruption would hit supply chains in the print market
      • Figure 24: COVID-19 scenario forecasts, consumer print books, 2016-26
    • Rapid recovery would mean a shift away from digital books
      • Figure 25: COVID-19 scenario forecasts, consumer digital books, 2016-26
    • COVID-19 market disruption: risks and outcomes
      • Figure 26: Summary of Mintel scenario expectations and the impact on the books market, 2021
  8. Market Segmentation

    • Print fiction growing rapidly during COVID-19
    • Children’s print books grow modestly with bookshops closed
      • Figure 27: UK publishers UK sales of consumer print books, by category (net invoiced value), 2015-20
    • Convenience of digital books produces surging sales during lockdown
      • Figure 28: UK publishers UK sales of consumer digital books, by category (net invoiced value), 2015-20
    • Record year for e-books as readers seek convenience in lockdown
    • Audiobook market continues to grow rapidly through lockdown
      • Figure 29: UK publishers sales of digital consumer books (UK and export), by format (net invoiced value), 2014-20
  9. Market Drivers

    • Economic environment could limit non-essential spending
    • Book market hit by supply issues due to COVID-19 and Brexit
    • Larger stores are increasing stock but still fear delays
    • Publishing industry concerns over changes to copyright laws post-Brexit
    • COVID-19’s impact on media behaviour
    • Books among the media consumption boosted by lockdown
      • Figure 30: Impact of COVID-19 on time spent doing media activities, by demographics, 18 February-2 March 2021
    • A quarter are spending more on books compared to before COVID-19
      • Figure 31: Impact of COVID-19 on amount spent on media content, 18 February-2 March 2021
    • One in five will read more after the pandemic than they did before
      • Figure 32: Impact of COVID-19 on amount spent on media content, 18 February-2 March 2021
    • Independent bookshops look to Booksellers Association for support
    • New Sally Rooney novel among the year’s most anticipated releases
    • TikTok highlights the ability of social media to drive book sales
  10. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Waterstones’s profits fall as COVID-19 measures see rising costs
    • Amazon strengthens its position in print and digital books
    • The full launch of Bookshop.org is the biggest innovation of the last year
  11. Company Activity

    • Waterstones profits fall 8.4% but stores reopening brings positivity
    • Waterstones among the first companies to announce mask policy
    • Potential shortages on the way
    • Blackwell’s reports growth in extended financial year
    • Amazon increases its share of the books market through lockdown
      • Figure 33: Bestsellers in books on Amazon.co.uk, 2020 and 2021
    • Audible originals enter the bestsellers list and platform increases inclusive content
      • Figure 34: Top-20 audible.co.uk bestsellers in 2020
    • Penguin Random House owner Bertelsmann set to acquire Simon & Schuster
    • Bloomsbury reports 14% increase in 2020/21 revenue
    • Hachette UK reports strong performance in 2021
    • HarperCollins profits up 42% in 2021 financial year
  12. Launch Activity and Innovation

    • November 2020 sees the launch of Bookshop.org in the UK
    • Bookshop.org passes £1.6 million for independent bookshops
    • Audible launches Premium Plus catalogue
    • Faber creates pop-up store for new Sally Rooney novel
      • Figure 35: Faber & Faber’s pop-up store in East London
    • Literati launches book club app Luminary in the US
    • Virtual events likely to remain important despite the easing of restrictions
    • Blackwell’s utilises interactive window display during lockdown
    • Authors A.I. launches BingeBooks online community
    • Faber and Wonderbly launch Pagesmith personalised poetry platform
      • Figure 36: Pagesmith personalised poetry books
    • Books That Matter looks to drive empowering female fiction
  13. Advertising and Marketing Activity

    • Book advertising spend recovering from the impact of COVID-19
      • Figure 37: Above-the-line and online display advertising expenditure on books, 2016/17 and 2020/21
    • The top ten advertisers are spending more than before the outbreak
      • Figure 38: Top 10 advertisers in the books market, 2016/17-2020/21
    • Digital media benefits as advertisers look to reach people at home
      • Figure 39: Above-the-line and online display advertising expenditure on books, by media types, 2016/17-2020/21
      • Figure 40: Above-the-line and online display advertising expenditure on books, by media type, 2020/21
    • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
  14. The Consumer – What You Need to Know

    • Consumer return to bookstores to boost print purchasing
    • Many turned to fiction for escape throughout lockdown
    • Favoured authors are the most important factor when buying new books
    • Social media activity is gaining importance to engage younger readers
  15. Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Behaviour

    • Book buying falls back as people return to out of home leisure
    • Vaccination rollout is boosting bookstore visits as restrictions ease…
    • …but caution remains and could limit time in-store
    • Younger demographics are more likely to have returned to book shops
      • Figure 41: Bookstore visiting following COVID-19 outbreak, 2020 and 2021
    • Two in five readers have joined a book club since the COVID-19 outbreak
      • Figure 42: Book clubs and COVID 19, by selected demographics, 2021
    • Fiction provides an escape from the realities of COVID-19
      • Figure 43: Fiction reading and COVID 19, by selected demographics, 2021
    • Reading tastes more likely to have changed for younger demographics
      • Figure 44: Reading tastes and COVID 19, by selected demographics, 2021
  16. Book Buying Habits

    • Proportion buying books falls back after peaking in first lockdown
      • Figure 45: Book buying habits (net), 2019-2021
    • Paperback fiction continues to be the most popular book purchase
    • E-book purchasing falls back as customers return to bookshops
    • Audiobook purchasing is focused on younger demographics
      • Figure 46: Book buying habits, 2020-2021
    • A third have made two or more book purchases in the last year
      • Figure 47: Repertoire analysis of Book buying habits, 2021
  17. Book Reading Habits

    • The proportion reading books declined after the first lockdown
      • Figure 48: Book reading habits by format (NET), 2019- 2021
    • Older readers are more likely to turn to print books…
    • …while reading on smartphones is very popular with 16-24s
      • Figure 49: Book reading habits by format, 2019- 2021
    • Most e-book readers are not subscribers
      • Figure 50: E-book subscriptions, 2019-2021
    • Audiobook subscriptions grow as inclusive content expands
    • Improved controls required for the voice-controlled smart speaker generation
      • Figure 51: Audiobook subscriptions, 2019-2021
  18. Book Genre Preferences

    • Popularity of fiction reflects desire for entertainment and escape in lockdown
      • Figure 52: Fiction versus non-fiction, 2021
    • Drama and thrillers are the most commonly read fiction books
      • Figure 53: Fiction book genres, 2021
    • Most people read across genres
      • Figure 54: Repertoire of fiction genres, 2021
    • Promote more female voices in science fiction and fantasy
      • Figure 55: Fiction book genres by gender, 2021
    • Autobiographies and biographies are the most popular non-fiction of the last year
      • Figure 56: Non-fiction Book genres, 2021
    • Preferences by gender are even more stark in non-fiction
      • Figure 57: Non-fiction Book genres by gender, 2021
  19. Important Factors When Buying Books

    • Favourite authors are the most important factor
    • Encouraging readers to leave reviews is vital to boost sales
    • Cover designs are key for the store browsing market
      • Figure 58: Important factors when buying books, 2021
    • Social media activity is growing in importance for young readers
    • BookTok hashtag can dramatically increase sales
    • Engaging with TikTok will be key in reaching Gen Z readers
    • Jellybooks looks to utilise data to improve recommendations
  20. Attitudes towards Books

    • The majority of readers prefer to browse for books
    • Preference for independent bookshops will boost Bookshop.org
    • Amazon gains as three quarters of readers buy most of their books online
      • Figure 59: Attitudes towards books, 2021
    • Three quarters of 16-44s in cities buy multiple books at a time
      • Figure 60: Books and e-books – CHAID – Tree output, 2021
  21. Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

    • Abbreviations
    • Consumer research methodology
    • Methodology – CHAID analysis
      • Figure 61: Books and e-books – CHAID – Table output, August 2021
  22. Appendix: Central Forecast Methodology

    • Market forecast and prediction intervals
      • Figure 62: UK publishers UK sales of consumer books, (net invoiced value), 2021-26
      • Figure 63: UK publishers UK sales of consumer print books, (net invoiced value), 2021-26
      • Figure 64: UK publishers UK sales of consumer digital books, (net invoiced value), 2021-26
    • Market drivers and assumptions
      • Figure 65: Key drivers affecting Mintel’s market forecast, 2021-26
    • Forecast methodology
  23. Appendix – COVID Scenario Performance Methodology and Assumptions

    • Scenario performance
      • Figure 66: Scenario performance for value of consumer books, 2021-26
      • Figure 67: Scenario performance for value of consumer print books, 2021-26
      • Figure 68: Scenario performance for value of consumer digital books, 2021-26
    • Rapid COVID recovery, central and extended COVID disruption scenarios outline
    • Scenario methodology

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