The figures, revealed by the Publishers Association (PA), also show that digital sales across the board including non-fiction and children’s literature too, increased to £84m for the first half, compared with just £30m in the same period the year before.
CEO of the PA, Richard Mollet, said that ‘despite difficult economic conditions… the huge increase in digital sales shows how rapidly readers and publishers are embracing e-book reading.’ This rapid growth in e-book customers can be at least partly attributed to the extremely low cost of buying an e-reader. At just £69 for the cheapest model, the Amazon Kindle has been a particular hit especially with commuters who can reader their morning paper on the device.
PA collects the information through its Sales Monitor survey, which collects data from around 250 publishers. The survey also showed that the share of people reading digital instead of print is increasing rapidly too, according to the figures, with digital sales accounting for 12.9% of total book sales in the first half of 2012, compared with 7.2% in the same period in 2011.
The volume of print editions sold fell 9 million to 951 million. Not a massive fall at less than 1%, but any drop will be unwelcome to publishers that have traditionally made their money printing and selling books.
Those Kindles are rather smart, we’ll admit. Might put one on the Christmas list…