‘Screen fatigue’ sees UK ebook sales plunge 17% as readers return to print

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A tourist in Goa reads an Amazon Kindle – the market leader in ebooks. Photograph: EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

Consumer sales down to £204m last year and are at lowest level since 2011 – when Amazon Kindle sales first took off in UK

Britons are abandoning the ebook at an alarming rate with sales of consumer titles down almost a fifth last year, as “screen fatigue” helped fuel a five-year high in printed book sales.

Sales of consumer ebooks plunged 17% to £204m last year, the lowest level since 2011 – the year the ebook craze took off as Jeff Bezos’ market-dominating Amazon Kindle took the UK by storm.

It is the second year running that sales of consumer ebooks – the biggest segment of the £538m ebook market, which fell 3% last year – have slumped as commuters, holidaymakers and leisure readers shelve digital editions in favour of good old fashioned print novels.

“I wouldn’t say that the ebook dream is over but people are clearly making decisions on when they want to spend time with their screens,” says Stephen Lotinga, chief exeutive of the Publishers Association, which published its annual yearbook on Thursday.

“There is generally a sense that people are now getting screen tiredness, or fatigue, from so many devices being used, watched or looked at in their week. [Printed] books provide an opportunity to step away from that.”

Sales of consumer ebooks hit a high water mark of £275m in 2014, when they accounted for half of the overall ebook market. The decline in consumer ebooks has been led by a slump in sales of the most popular segment, fiction, which plummeted 16% to £165m last year.

Lotinga says that while there has been an increase in sales of ebooks and subscriptions in non-consumer areas, such as education and academic titles, there are certain types of consumer books people prefer to read in paper format.

Among last year’s biggest sellers were children’s books by JK Rowling (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and David Walliams (The Midnight Gang, The World’s Worst Children), which helped sales of print and digital kids books to soar 16% to £365m. Diet book guru Joe Wicks (Lean in 15) was also a huge hit.

“The titles that sold really well last year did not lend themselves to digital,” says Lotinga. “People prefer to give, or read, children’s books like Harry Potter titles in print, and healthy cooking titles and biographies sell very well in print compared to ebook format.”

Print sales of consumer book titles – fiction, non-fiction and children’s titles – rose almost 9% last year to £1.55bn. The total UK print book market, including non-consumer areas such as journals, rose 8% to a five-year high of £3bn.

“We saw a very marginal increase in overall print sales in 2015, but last year people flocked back to print in droves,” says Lotinga.

Issues with a slowdown in ereaders being bought, linked to the rise of smartphones, has contributed to the decline in ebook popularity and renewed surge in book sales.

“The ubiquity of larger screen smartphones and tablets appears to have impacted the demand for ereaders,” says Richard Broughton, analyst at Ampere. “However, for many consumers the screens on smartphones and tablets are not as conducive to reading, not as comfortable”.

With most Britons now carrying hi-tech, expensive phones many just don’t want to have the extra cost, and potential headache, of carrying and looking after more devices.

“For consumers travelling or on holiday having an additional ereader device to look after is awkward,” says Broughton. “A physical copy of a book is a disposable low-cost entertainment tool. It doesn’t matter if you leave it in your hotel room, on a train or by the swimming pool.”

The issue with consumer ebooks aside the UK book industry is in fine fettle. Total sales of print and digital books and journals climbed 7% to £4.8bn last year, the largest growth since 2007 when digital sales were first included.

Looking purely at the book market total sales rose 6% to £3.5bn, as an 8% rise in print sales outweighed the 3% decline in ebook sales.

Overall digital sales grew 6% to £1.7bn, with academic, professional and educational journals outstripping the fall in ebooks, to account for 35% of total revenues.

Despite this success Lotinga warned that with Europe the largest market for UK books, accounting for 35% of international sales, it is imperative that Theresa May’s Brexit deal protects the publishing industry.

“Whatever the makeup of the new government, they must ensure that any post-Brexit trade settlement it reaches with the EU and other countries reinforces this success,” says Lotinga.

Overseas sales increased 6% last year to £2.6bn, 54% of total revenues.

Author: Mark Sweney
Twitter: @marksweney
Source: https://www.theguardian.com

The 5 best e-readers you can buy

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Amazon

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

TL;DR We binge-read novels on several e-readers to find the best ones. A few page turners later, we found that Amazon’s Kindle Oasis is the absolute best e-reader you can buy.

To a bookworm, there is no greater pleasure in life than diving into a good book. Although many people still prefer good old paper books, digital natives and people who travel a lot love their ebooks and e-readers.

E-readers have come a very long way since Amazon’s first Kindle came out in 2007. Amazon still offers the widest range of e-readers, which includes the humble Kindle and the Rolls Royce of e-readers, the Kindle Oasis.

Of course, there are other great e-readers out there from Amazon’s main competitors: Kobo and Barnes & Noble.

We’ve tested all the latest e-readers to find out which ones are best for all kinds of buyers. Whether you love page-turning buttons, enjoy reading in the bath, or just want a nice cheap e-reader, there’s an e-reader for you in our buying guide.

Note that all Kindles come in two versions: with special offers and without. If you choose the ones with special offers, you will see ads on the lock screen and potentially elsewhere, but you will save money.

The Kindle Oasis may be our top pick, but for various reasons laid out in the slides below, you should also consider the Kobo Aura One, Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite, the Barnes & Noble Glowlight Plus, and Amazon’s cheapest Kindle.

Author: Malarie Gokey
Twitter: @MalarieGokey
Source: http://uk.businessinsider.com

Young readers ditch eBooks

229965_54_news_hub_192263_656x500.jpegNew figures show that readers are migrating away from eBooks and that physical sales are on the rise again.

More than 360 million books were sold in the UK last year – that’s 2% more than 2015.

While the amount spent by readers increased by 6% – passing the £100m (€115m) mark.

Nielsen data, quoted in The Guardian found that electronic books sales fell by 4% as readers put down their Kindles and iPhones and returned to traditional books.

This was the second year in a row in which electronic sales have fallen.

Sales through brick and mortar shops increased by 7%.

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The report notes that this comes as sales of books aimed at young people have increased – surprisingly these titles have been particularly popular in their physical forms as these digital natives take a break from their devices.

“We are seeing that books are a respite, particularly for young people who are so busy digitally,” Steve Bohme, research director at Nielsen Book Research UK said.

“Over the last few years we have seen a return to favouring print, partly from what is really successful, this year being non-fiction and children’s books,” he continued, adding that a spike in demand for adult colouring books has also contributed to this shift.

Down to Business recently sat down with a panel of independent Irish booksellers – they reported that their sales have been experiencing steady year-on-year increases.

Author: Joseph Conroy
Twitter: @josephconroy
Source: http://www.newstalk.com