Friday 13 May 2016 9:13 am

Readers rejoice: Printed book sales rise for first time in four years as ebooks undergo decline


I am a reporter at City A.M. looking at the stories, people and data behind political events from the UK, Europe and further afield. I also write about infrastructure and transport, as well as broader issues around global business.

I am a reporter at City A.M. looking at the stories, people and data behind political events from the UK, Europe and further afield. I also write about infrastructure and transport, as well as broader issues around global business.

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For anyone starting to fear that soon they will no longer be able to enjoy the touch of a printed book, today has brought good news: print books may be showing something of a revival.

The Publishers Association has today revealed that sales of print books are rising for the first time in four years, while ebook sales are down for the first time since the e-reader hit the shelves.

Total sales of book and journal publishing was up to £4.4bn in 2015.

Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of The Publishers Association, said: "Those who made predictions about the death of the book may have underestimated just how much people love paper.

"Digital continues to be an incredibly important part of the industry, but it would appear there remains a special place in the consumer’s heart for the aesthetic pleasure that printed books can bring."

Read more: Sainsbury's to start selling vinyl records

The report shows printed book sales up to £2.76bn in 2015 from £2.748bn in 2014, while digital sales dropped slightly from £563m to £554m. 

Ed Vaizey MP, minister of state for culture and the digital economy, said: "The UK's publishing industry is a huge success story, and I'm delighted the sector is continuing to flourish. The publishing industry contributes £10.2bn a year to the UK economy, and these latest figures are welcome news, particularly in a year when we're celebrating one of the UK's most famous literary exports, William Shakespeare."

Apparently, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the reversal of the trend is a response to readers' new found appreciation for print books, and lifestyle non-fiction writing – such as adult colouring books (found in all decent hipster book stores everywhere). 

Top UK sales of printed books in 2015

  • Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian, EL James – 1,075,206
  • Grandpa’s Great Escape, David Walliams – 532,513
  • The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins – 477,887
  • Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom, Millie Marotta – 409,858
  • Mog’s Christmas Calamity, Judith Kerr – 382,014
  • Elizabeth Is Missing, Emma Healey – 368,786
  • Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee – 342,146
  • The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton – 320,648
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School, Jeff Kinney – 313,640
  • Guinness World Records 2016, Guinness World Records – 309,900
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