Print and e-book sales are on the rise, while audiobook sales are seeing rapid growth despite being largely untapped by most publishers, according to early results from The Bookseller’s Digital Census, the annual tracker of the digital transformation run annually ahead of the FutureBook Conference.
Just over half of UK publishers have seen growth in revenue from digital sales in the last year. The publishers who saw rapid growth put this down to three key drivers—pricing strategy, marketing and a better understanding of their readers.
While one in four publishers saw the biggest year-on-year growth from audio, many publishers are still making no money from audiobooks direct, choosing instead to license the content to dedicated audiobook publishers or not acquire the rights in the first place. Across all UK publishers, on average, 62% of revenue came from print sales, 33% from digital and 5% from audiobooks.
A whopping 72% of publishers agreed with the statement that 'Digital is fully integrated across my business’, but there was a dead split between those who thought the next five years would bring further digital change, and those who thought the digital disruption was behind the sector. Those who anticipated further transformation during the next five years, believed it would come from an unknown start-up, a new piece of technology, and Amazon.
Sam Missingham, founder of LoungeBooks who launched the survey seven years ago, said: “In the main, the Census results reflect positively on the industry. They suggest publishers are in a strong position, that they are still seeing growth across formats and that they are realistic about the future. They have awareness that more can be done internally to facilitate innovation and that they need to work harder to embrace start-ups and new technology. Audio sill seems to be a sleeping giant and with new platforms launching, the next few years looks great for audio growth.”
More than 500 responses have so far been submitted, with the survey running until Tuesday 31st October. The survey can be completed here.
The full programmes for FutureBook17, AudioBook Revolution, and EdTech for Publishers can be viewed here. Tickets can be bought on the conference website. Early bird booking is available until 27th October. For group bookings contact Grace Harrison, and for sponsorship opportunities, Emma Lowe.
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