Although U.S. print sales have been steady, the UK Publishers Association is reporting a very interesting trend. Generally, print revenues dropped 5 percent to £2.7 billion and ebook revenues rose by 11 percent to £563 million. While ebooks still make up just a fraction of the books sold, it’s clear that ebooks are creeping up on print in a very real way.
Most important, however, is the rise in children’s ebooks. Publishers have assumed that parents would be less willing to hand a tablet over to their kids than a board book or paperback, but that, too, is fast changing. In fact, digitial children’s books are up 36 percent – a change that should give printers pause.
“It is great to see digital growth continuing and developing in more sectors of publishing. The rise in children’s digital sales, while perhaps unsurprising given 71 percent of households now own a tablet, is testament to the innovation taking place in children’s publishing and the engaging content being produced,” said Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of the UK Publishers Association in a release.
There was also some growth in the textbook space with 20 percent more digital book purchases by schools. Interestingly, however, only 4 percent of the “total school book budget” is spent on digital, a fact that will become more important as we enter the era of the connected classroom. In short, however, ebooks are holding their own.
“The big debate for publishing is no longer about electronic – versus – print, because the clear answer is ‘both,'” said Mollet.