Jackie Swope

The lifetime of BookScan, international edition

The UK is the oldest of the BookScan territories, with data back to 1998, and over the years, we’ve expanded our coverage to 11 other countries, most recently Colombia, launched in 2023. The individual market charts always show an interesting mix of global hits and more local bestsellers, and extending that to the lifetime charts for each country paints a fascinating picture of the favourites in the BookScan era.

Crime (and thrills) pay in the UK book market

More than half a billion crime, thriller & adventure books were bought across formats in the ten years from 2013 to 2022 in the UK, equating to approximately 100 purchases a minute, with £2.5bn spent by consumers in those years, according to results from our Books & Consumers survey.

Looking back over the lifetime of BookScan

While it’s hard to imagine a time when the book industry didn’t have BookScan, it was actually 30 years ago, 1993, that BookScan development in the UK began. We’ve come a long way since then, expanding our coverage of the UK market and adding eleven more countries (and counting) to our roster…

Seasonality and celebrations in different book markets

The pattern of the UK print book market throughout the year can be fairly reliable: the peak occurs in the lead up to Christmas, with 8-9m books bought in the final shopping weeks, nearly three times more than lowest weeks of the year. Beyond the UK, it’s interesting to see how those patterns differ in the other countries covered by BookScan.

Celebrating independent bookshops in the UK

Happy Independent Bookshop Week! Indie bookshops are an important part of the UK high street and the book market, and here we’ll highlight the role they play in boosting books beyond the market bestsellers as well as showing some insight into the consumers who support these shops.

The buyers behind the book sales

Consumers in their 30s are consistently the largest segment of book buyers in the UK each year, with 30-34s buying 12% of books in 2022 according to Nielsen BookData’s Books & Consumers survey, ahead of 11% bought by those aged 35-39.

Snapshot of print & digital books in the UK in 2022

While our previous 2022 roundup posts have covered print books, first for the UK and Ireland and then looking further afield, here we have a summary of both print and digital formats in the UK, from our ongoing Books & Consumers monthly survey. In total, 348m books were bought for the year, adding up to £2.5bn, with both measures down around 4% compared to 2021.

Making sense of 2022

After both the UK and Irish print book markets hit their highest value sales on record in 2021, Ireland managed to surpass that in 2022, with value sales growing another 2%, to €170m. This was largely driven by growth in fiction…Fiction similarly grew in the UK, but that didn’t make up for the drop in other sectors, with the total UK print market falling 1%, to £1.8bn.

Giving the gift of books

Over the last five years, one in ten print books bought in the UK have been intended as Christmas gifts, according to Nielsen BookData’s Books & Consumers survey. Of course, several genres will exceed that stat – some books might as well be released with Christmas bow already attached, as associated with the season as they are.