E-book sales are rising to offset a decline in physical book purchases, but only in volume. With the lower price points of e-books versus their print counterparts, the value of book sales is shrinking. That revelation is just one finding from the latest Books & Consumers survey, an ongoing study of the habits of British book buyers by category experts at BML, a Bowker business.
“Through Books & Consumers we are tracking a remarkable period of change in the book industry,” said Jo Henry, Managing Director of BML Bowker. “And publishers are using these data to make better informed decisions and plan their futures more effectively.”
The Books & Consumers survey shows that in the 48 weeks ending 27th November 2011, compared to the same period the previous year, British consumers’ purchases of physical books declined by 4%, with value down some 6%. However, with e-book purchases included, the total consumer book market grew very slightly in volume terms, up 0.4%, with a market value drop of 3% overall.
The survey also looks at how the e-book industry fares by genre. The adult fiction market saw spectacular e-book growth in 2011, up from 2.8% of purchases in the four weeks ending 26th December 2010 to 12.5% in the four weeks to 27th November 2011. But again, as e-books are being bought for lower prices, they accounted for only 7.1% of adult fiction spending in the latest period