Publishing industry reels after nine million fewer books are given as gifts in 2013

 

Media Editor

The number of books being given as gifts has fallen by nine million in a year, delivering a new financial blow to the publishing industry as UK consumers turn away from hard copies in favour of digital reads.

The trend was revealed in Nielsen Book’s UK Books & Consumers Annual Review for 2013, which identified a four per cent year-on-year decrease in the UK book market between 2012 and 2013 both in terms of volume and value.

Jo Henry, director of the research, said that the decline in giving books as gifts would be of particular concern to publishers.

“In view of the importance of the gift market to the book industry,” she said, more work was needed to examine the causes of “the apparent decrease in the value that consumers are placing on books as gifts”. Similar patterns have been identified in the United States. Gifts accounted for 22 per cent of book sales in 2013, down from 24 per cent in 2012.

The survey found that digital e-books now account for 25 per cent of all book purchases (up from 20 per cent in 2012) and that their growth is at the expense of paperbacks (down to 50 per cent from 55 per cent) but not of hardbacks (steady at 21 per cent).

Nielsen Book reported that there has been a sharp rise in digital purchases of adult fiction genres – especially in genres such as romance, crime and fantasy. E-books make up 40 per cent of adult fiction sales, compared to only one in 10 of children’s books.

But the e-books, which are often sold at a small fraction of the cover price of the physical product, were worth only 14 per cent of the total market, with paperbacks still worth 51 per cent (compared to 54 per cent in 2012). Hardbacks actually grew their market share from 30 per cent to 31 per cent over the 12 months.

Thrillers, crime stories and fantasy were the genres that enjoyed growth in 2013, largely at the expense of erotic fiction, which had an exceptional 2012 due to the success of Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. Erotic fiction – which dropped from 16 per cent of the market in 2012 to five per cent in 2013 - has tumbled from second most popular genre in paperbacks and e-books in 2012 to seventh place in both categories in 2013.

Among children’s books, fantasy and magic stories ranging from JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Stephenie Meyer’s vampire series Twilight to the Rainbow Magic stories of “Daisy Meadows”, a collective of children’s authors sharing the same name, and the Beast Quest fantasy series written by the “Adam Blade” authors have dominated the market for the past two years.

Adventure stories, ranging from new tales such as the Suzanne Collins franchise The Hunger Games to traditional favourites such as Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five series were a declining genre over the year, with market share falling from 15 per cent to 12 per cent.

The study noted that General Fiction – such as the David Walliams series that includes titles Ratburger and Gangsta Granny – had risen to become the most popular genre among 7-12 year-olds.

Accounting group PwC recently predicted that the e-book would overhaul the paperback and hardback as the preferred reading format by 2018

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'