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Digital 8% of 2011 book sales value, says PA

Consumer e-book sales increased by 366% to £92m in 2011, with sales across all digital formats accounting for 8% of the value of sales of all books, according to the Publishers Association's Statistics Yearbook 2011, published today (1st May).

PA chief executive Richard Mollet said the "story of the year is a decline in physical sales almost being compensated for by a strong performance in digital", with the combined sales of digital and physical books decreasing by 2% in 2011 to £3.2bn, according to PA data. Consumer e-book sales are equivalent to 6% of consumer physical book sales by value, with overall digital sales growing by 54% to a value of £243m, the Yearbook states.

Sales of all digital formats, taking in e-books, audio book downloads and online subscriptions accounted for 8% of the total invoiced value of sales of books in 2011, which is up from 5% in 2010.

Total physical sales of school books (excluding ELT) increased by 6% to £271m, with 13% of academic and professional book revenues coming from digital products last year.

Publishers earned 41% of their revenues through export, with East and South Asia, and Central and South America, especially Brazil, showing the strongest growth.

Average book prices fell by 1.3%, compared with an annual UK inflation rate of 4.47%.

Mollet said: "For many years now publishers have invested in digital products and services and this is being reflected in the increasingly mixed economy for books in the UK.

"However, online copyright infringement is increasingly making its presence felt for authors and publishers and that is why we continue to call on government and other stakeholders in the digital economy to work with us to do more to tackle it, and to ensure that the UK's e-commerce performance is as strong as it can possibly be. That said, physical books remain the format of choice for the vast majority of British readers, underlining the continued importance of a strong 'high street' sector."

The data in the PA’s Statistics Yearbook is based on a series of surveys, including the ongoing Publishers Association Sales Monitor data collection scheme.