The Bookseller’s Digital Census is the annual tracker of how the book business is managing the digital shift. Ten key findings from the latest report follow below.
1. The iPad is now more popular than the Kindle
For the first time, the percentage of respondents who commonly read on an iPad (41.9%) outstrips those who do so on a Kindle (37.9%).
2. Amazon dominates e-book retail
More than two-thirds (71.0%) of all Census respondents say they buy e-books regularly from Amazon—more than five times as many as do so frequently from the next most popular e-retailer, Apple’s iBookstore (13.4%).
3. Booksellers will survive
Fewer than one in six (15.6%) said they could envisage a day when there will be no physical bookshops.
4. Digital sales are growing, but slowing
Half (50.0%) of publishers said digital formats now account for more than 10% of their total sales, but nearly a quarter (23.6%) say they account for 3% or less. Less than a third (30.7%) of respondents think digital will generate more than 50% of their sales (in value terms) by the end of 2020—substantially down from nearly half (48.2%) in the 2012 Census.
5. Digital sales will overtake print by 2025
Two-thirds (66.8%) think the UK will sell more books in digital formats than in print by 2025.
6. Subscriptions are on the rise
More than a quarter (28.8%) of publishers say they now sell subscriptions. Half (50.7%) think it will become a viable model in the future.
7. Territorial rights will collapse
Three-quarters (76.5%) of publishers now think territorial rights are coming under increasing pressure as the e-book market develops globally.
8. Self-published authors are happier than traditionally published writers
On a scale of 1 to 10—with 1 very unsatisfied and 10 very satisfied—traditionally published authors rated their publishers at a lukewarm average of 5.7. But self-published authors’ levels of satisfaction with what they have achieved to date is, on average, a rosier 7.1.
9. Going it alone is a hard way to make a living
Around half (48.1%) of self-published authors say they have sold fewer than 1,000 e-books. Another quarter (25.9%) have sold between 1,000 and 5,000.
10. The industry is not as prepared as it should be
Only one in seven respondents (14.7%) thinks the sector as a whole is prepared for the next stage in the digital revolution.
The Digital Census was completed by more than 1,000 respondents. The full 25-page Digital Census will be made available to all FutureBook delegates. Speakers include Tom Weldon, c.e.o of Penguin Random House, Carla Buzasi, founding editor of The Huffington Post UK, and author and Hailo head of product George Berkowski, among a packed line-up. For tickets, and programme, click here.