When you break the market down the picture is less positive for Ebooks, which have seen their second consecutive year on year fall in sales – down four percent in 2016. On the flip side physical book sales grew fast enough to cover the decline in Ebooks and boost overall book sales by two percent.
The data also reveals good news for bricks-and-mortar bookshops, with a 4% rise in purchases across the UK.
While Nielsen found that 50% of all fiction sales were in ebook format, only 4% of children’s fiction was digital. Steve Bohme, research director at Nielsen Book Research UK, said “We are seeing that books are a respite, particularly for young people who are so busy digitally”.
While adult colouring books were popular in 2015, last year saw books about healthy cooking and the latest Harry Potter sell well – which Bohme noted are “books that tend to translate better in the print form”.
These findings seem to echo those of the Publishers Association, who reported that in 2015 digital content sales fell from £563m to £554m, whilst paper books increased from £2.74bn to £2.76bn.
Whilst Ebook sales have fallen year on year, the market remains solid, representing 25% of overall book sales, and average prices have risen to £7, signs that the market is settling in and maturing.