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eBook Sales More Than Quadrupled In 2011

The Publishers Association has just revealed its Statistics Yearbook 2011 of publishers' sales, and the headline figure is that the amount of consumer eBooks shifted in the UK increased by 366 per cent over 2011.

The Association noted that all digital formats, including eBooks, audio book downloads and online subscriptions, accounted for eight per cent of the total value of book sales last year. That was up considerably from a figure of five per cent in 2010.

Overall, throughout 2011 the total value of books sales, both digital and printed, fell slightly by two per cent to £3.2 billion. The price of the average book fell by 1.3 per cent, as the industry doubtless felt the effect of the general economic belt-tightening which is going on.

Richard Mollet, CEO of The Publishers Association, said: "Across fiction, non-fiction, children's and academic books, the story of the year is a decline in physical sales almost being compensated for by a strong performance in digital."

"For many years now publishers have invested in innovation in digital products and services and this is being reflected in the increasingly mixed economy for books in the UK."

He added: "However, online copyright infringement is increasingly making its presence felt for authors and publishers and that is why we continue to call on government and other stakeholders in the digital economy to work with us to do more to tackle it, and to ensure that the UK's ecommerce performance is as strong as it can possibly be."

"That said, physical books remain the format of choice for the vast majority of British readers, underlining the continued importance of a strong ‘high street' sector."

When it comes to copyright infringement issues, Tor UK isn't calling for the government to wade in, but has taken the bold step of making its titles DRM-free (opens in new tab). It will definitely be interesting to see how much that initiative sparks in terms of sales for the company.

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.