The UK publishing industry had a “record-breaking year” in 2022, with a total income of £6.9bn.
A Year in Publishing, a look at the state of the book market by trade body the Publishers Association , found that sales were up 4% from 2021In 2022, 669m physical books were sold in the UK, the highest overall level ever recorded.
The export market saw an increase of 8% in 2022, with £4.1bn in total sales. The UK’s biggest export was Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper, which was adapted for a hit Netflix show. A fifth book in the series is due to the be released later this year, and Oseman this month announced that there will be a sixth and final instalment.
However, domestic sales were down slightly, by 1% to £2.7bn, with increases in print sales driven by the export market.
In consumer books, print sales were up 2%, to £1.8bn, while digital sales were also up 2% to £423m and audio downloads saw an 8% increase to £164m. Fiction was up by 9% to £797m of sales, and children’s books were up by 1%. Non-fiction saw a decrease of 2%, but still accounted for £1bn.
Rebecca Smart, chair of the Association’s consumer publishers council and co-CEO of DK Books, said that while it was “disappointing to see a modest decrease in overall sales at home, it is great to see fiction and audio doing particularly well as people continue to seek entertainment and discovery through books”.
Dan Conway, chief executive of the Publishers Association, said the publishing industry had “shown strength in the face of what was a difficult year for many and has again proved the vital role it plays amongst the wider creative industries, as well as building the UK economy”.
Production costs for books have increased, largely due to the rising costs of paper and energy and the effects of Brexit. In addition, the cost of living crisis has also had an impact, with research finding that one in five parents and carers spent less on books for their children and that the people most affected by rising costs expected to reduce their spending on books, with up to 30% expecting to buy fewer books in the next year.
But Conway said 2022’s sales were “a testament to the timeless appeal of books; they offer comfort and escapism for readers, can be a good source of education and learning, and can last a lifetime”.
“With the cost of living crisis continuing, reading as a comfort for adults and to encourage creativity and learning in children must be cherished,” he added.
BookTok – the name given to social media platform TikTok’s book community, continued to “encourage many to reignite their passion for reading”, said Conway. The work of book influencers would be “pivotal in ensuring that the industry remains buoyant”.
A Year in Publishing also looked at educational and academic publishing. Educational publishing had a total income of £634m, an increase of 16%, while academic publisher income rose by 3% on the year before to £3.5bn.
Source : TheGuardian