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.
In the first seven months of 2022, the sector that experienced the biggest percent decrease in the UK book market was non-fiction e-books. On the other hand, where can we find the biggest percent increase? Non-fiction audiobooks. Thanks to that combination of decline and growth, the digital sides of non-fiction are on their way to meeting in the middle: the gap between the two fell below 1.5m purchases, compared to more than 3.5m at the same point in 2021.
Book prizes have been receiving lots of scrutiny recently, with high profile prizes such as the Costa Book Awards losing sponsorship and having to cease or postpone their activities. However, data from Nielsen BookData’s BookScan sales measurement and Books & Consumers survey show that prizes remain as important as ever in terms of driving sales, and helping consumers find and choose books.
Paperback novels are currently enjoying their summertime sales boost, fuelled by readers shopping for their latest beach read. More than 160 paperback novels sold more than 1,000 copies in the UK in the week ending 30th July 2022, and 17 of those occupy spots in the overall top 20. Outside of Christmas, the biggest weeks in volume terms for paperback fiction tend to occur around […]
In the first half of 2022, BookScan has tracked over 270m in print book sales through ten countries, led by the UK with 91m books sold and ranging all the way down to just under 3m in New Zealand. For all countries combined, the broad sector split comes to a satisfyingly orderly 99m, 88m and 77m respectively for non-fiction, children’s & educational and fiction, although non-fiction isn’t the biggest segment for every country.
One fascinating thing that I do with BookScan data every year is to put together the international bestsellers, across all print editions and translations in the markets that we cover (UK, Ireland, Italy, Spain, India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Mexico). The result is often surprising […]