British book worms are spending more on reading this year, sending sales up £100m

Imran Khan
Focus On Foyles Bookshop
Britons are reading more physical books (Source: Getty)

Britons are reading more than last year and increased spending by six per cent on books by as much as £100m more compared to 2016, according to research from Nielsen Book Research UK.

Printed book sales were up seven per cent, driven by greater reading amongst younger generations, despite commonly held assumptions that young people and children are reading less than previously.

E-book sales declined four per cent as mobiles and tablets overtook dedicated e-readers as the most common devices for reading electronically. Nielson said this is a trend, which coincides with a slowing down in the growth of device ownership and price rises on e-books.

Non-fiction and childrens' print books were the fastest growing categories, growing five per cent and three per cent respectively. Genres such as self-help, humour, cookery, history and crime all reported growth, according to the research. In contrast, biographies, popular fiction and literary fiction reported consecutive year decreases in purchases.

The survey points to good news for the British high street too with a four per cent growth in book volume from physical book shops, compared to flat online sales. However, online retailers continued to grow market share of the print market with a one per cent rise from 31 per cent to 32 per cent of purchases.

Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair, said:

“Much has been said in recent years about e-reading cannibalising the sales of print books, so it is very interesting to see how this trend has reversed and how print is now very much back on the up.

“We live in a world where variety is everything and book buyers want to have the luxury of choice - to have access to titles in paperback, hardback, e-book or audio book format - according to their lifestyle and preference.”

Some 25,000 publishing professionals will congregate in London tomorrow to attend The London Book Fair for a three day conference and marketplace dedicated to rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels.

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