Publishers hail record year for ebook sales

BOOK publishers have navigated the internet age far more successfully than their counterparts in the music industry, with sales hitting a record last year.

The Publishers Association said yesterday that book sales in the UK rose four per cent in 2012.

Although ebooks were the major source of growth, sales of physical books proved surprisingly resilient. boosted by the success of the Fifty Shades trilogy. The steamy series, written by British author EL James, dominated the book market last year, selling more than five times as much as the next most-popular set of titles, the Hunger Games books.

Total spending in the UK was £3.3bn. The vast majority of this was still made up of physical books, sales of which fell one per cent to £2.9bn. Digital sales ­– which were made up mainly of ebooks but also include items such as audiobook downloads – rose 66 per cent, and are now 12 per cent of the market, up from five per cent two years ago.