U.K. Publishers Hit Book Sales Record for 2012 Amid Digital Growth

Spending on printed and digital books rose 4 percent to more than $5.1 billion, with "Fifty Shades of Grey" and "Hunger Games" among the bestsellers.


LONDON - British publishers brought in their highest-ever annual sales in 2012, with stronger sales for digital formats outweighing a slight decline in printed books.

Overall, spending on printed and digital books rose 4 percent to more than $5.1 billion (£3.3 billion) last year, the Publishers Association said late in the week.

Printed books saw a 1 percent sales drop to $4.5 billion (£2.9 billion), but digital sales jumped 66 percent to $640 million (£411 million).

The Publishers Association didn't mention any specific book titles as drivers of growth, but Nielsen Bookscan previously said that EL James' Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy topped the British chart of retail book sales.

Other big sellers of 2012 included Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series and JK Rowling's first non-Harry Potter novel, The Casual Vacancy.

Digital formats, including e-books, audiobooks and online book subscriptions, accounted for 12 percent of the total value of sales in 2012, up from 8 percent in 2011 and 5 percent in 2010.

Sales of consumer e-books, which are in the field of mainstream fiction and non-fiction, were up 134 percent to $336 million (£216 million).

Physical sales of fiction books also grew last year, rising 3 percent.

Richard Mollet, CEO of the Publishers Association, said the latest figures show the business opportunities of digital."British publishing is a healthy industry which continues to grow," he said. "The continued increase in digital sales across different disciplines illustrates the shift of readers to e-book reading.

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