Hachette UK sees 250,000 digital Christmas downloads

Hachette UK saw 250,000 e-book sales between Christmas Day and Boxing Day, The Bookseller can reveal.

The download figure marks an 86% increase on last year’s directional sales figure, with Hachette’s head of digital George Walkley saying he only “expects these numbers to improve as the last of the reporting comes in.”

The majority of sales came on Boxing Day, with every digital partner of Hachette reporting a “significant increase” on December 2012 from Christmas 2011, Walkley said.

Bestselling titles included The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart, Standing in Another Man's Grave by Ian Rankin and The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling.

Walkley said: “It's interesting to note that this is not just a frontlist phenomenon as over 6,500 of our titles saw digital sales in the last two days. As the print bestseller lists illustrate, our books in print have sold exceptionally well this Christmas and these digital sales figures underline the range and the popularity of our books, irrespective of format...It's been a fantastic Christmas all round.”

He added: "These are worldwide sales, and being driven by a number of factors - not least strong sales of tablets and e-readers over the Christmas period; widespread availability of titles in digital format; and a range of seasonal promotions including price promotions, digital samplers and direct marketing to readers through email and social media.”

Last week (21st December) The Bookseller reported that publishers were slashing e-book prices and preparing to work through Christmas, amid predictions that a record number of e-readers and tablets will be given as presents this year. At least 12 million e-reading devices will be in people’s hands before the end of 2012, possibly marking the peak in e-ink device sales.