Britain

The Growth Of The UK Ebook Market

Really fascinating glimpse of the development of the UK ebook business from BML/Bowker (as a teaser for their annual conference in March):

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

via Bowker – British Book Buyers are Switching to “e” from Print and Spending Less.

Let’s start with the increase. From 2.8% of purchases to 12.5% of purchases that an increase of 346%.

Not bad going, especially when you consider the report doesn’t include the key Christmas period. That’s the same period by the way that saw Hachette, HarperCollins and Random House each sell over 100,000 ebooks on Christmas Day alone.

That suggests strongly that the 500% increase suggested by at least one UK publisher and referenced by The Bookseller’s Philip Jones in the excellent Futurebook email newsletter:

Were e-book sales in the UK worth £105m in 2011? That was the figure implied by Hachette UK when it stated last week that its e-book sales of £21m amounted to a 20% share of the UK e-book market. Hachette added that its own e-book sales had grown by “nearly 500%”.

We do not know if Hachette’s figure was stated at invoiced or published prices, and whether it included audio-book downloads and/or app sales, but either way it seems unlikely that Hachette’s own e-book growth will not have been reflected in the wider e-book market, meaning a second year of growth at 500%.

Jones has much much more of value in that newsletter this week so I encourage you to go read it. As Jones points out, if that £105m is correct and the market grows at a similar pace in 2012, that would bring digital sales to £500m and around 30% of the market! Pretty impressive growth.

Of course as I pointed our earlier this month, as ebook sales increase the have to overcome larger hurdles to show such large percentage gains. I’m not sure 2012 will deliver that in the UK, but it sure will be fun to find out if it can.

Eoin

Go Read This | Catherine Cookson’s estate set to infuriate publishing houses by releasing 100 cut-price e-books | Mail Online

As if we needed more evidence this week that the old model is under severe pressure from new and competing models, it crops up from an unexpected source:

She sold more than 100million books and was for years the most-borrowed author in British libraries.

Now, more than 12 years after her death, Catherine Cookson, the best-selling author of The Fifteen Streets and the Mallen trilogy, is embroiled in a literary bust-up.

Her estate, the Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, is set to infuriate the print publishing industry by releasing 100 of her novels as cut-price electronic books.

via Catherine Cookson’s estate set to infuriate publishing houses by releasing 100 cut-price e-books | Mail Online.

Thomas Francis Meagher: Man of distinction

In between, a remarkable life that carried Meagher to four of the world’s seven continents, earned him hero status from the Irish and a sentence of death from the British, then a last-second reprieve and lifetime banishment to Tasmania, which was followed by his escape to New York City, and American careers that ran the gamut from newspaper editor, to South American adventurer, to lecturer, to brave brigadier general who led his troops into some of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles.

via Man of distinction.