The UK audiobook market has continued to grow in 2023, with purchases up 6% in the first half of the year and spending up 12%; if that rate holds, then annual value could surpass £200m for the first time this year, according to our monthly Books & Consumers survey.
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.
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.
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.
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.