Digital book sales show stellar growth

The UK Publishers Association has revealed that sales of digital books have rocketed, quadrupling in 2010.

The PA Statistics Yearbook for last year shows that six per cent of the total £3.1 billion book sales came in some sort of digital form, meaning that the days of the made-from-trees tome are not quite over yet.

Total consumer sales of digital books, which includes downloaded ebooks and audio books grew by 318 per cent in 2010 from $4 million to £16 million in the UK alone with worldwide sales hitting £180 million, the PA said.

“Parallel to this vibrant performance in digital publishing, the traditional print book market remains hugely popular for the majority of readers and these figures point to a future of print and digital books co-existing in the marketplace,” said Richard Mollet, chief executive of The Publishers Association.

But academia still dominates the digital book market with 72 per cent of all digital sales coming from the academic and professional sectors.

"Academic and professional publishing, which embraced digital platforms over a decade ago, continues to lead the field," said Mollet. "Now that technology is putting e-reading devices into consumers’ hands, we are starting to see the rapid growth of digital sales in this area too, as consumer publishers develop digital formats to reach wider audiences."