E-books will grow 'only slowly' after 2016

E-books will grow 'only slowly' after 2016

E-books will become around 35% of the UK book market in the next two years, but thereafter grow "only very slowly", according to a new report from Enders Analysis and Bain & Company.

The Creative UK report, launched at an event of the same name held in London attended by people including Dame Gail Rebuck, said the UK’s creative industries - publishing, music, film, television, arts and advertising – were at the “centre of the digital transformation of the UK economy thanks to consumers’ embrace of technology”.

The report predicted that in volume terms, e-books would become 35% of the total market in two years, and would “then continue to rise only very slowly”. It went on to say that Amazon “clearly owns the e-book market” but for publishers “the single biggest challenge…will be ensuring they can economically supply a market that can realistically support a much smaller number of dedicated bookshops”.

Another challenge would be mass-market subscription services, “though some categories could perhaps develop successful specialist and niche services, and international subscriptions may also evolve”.

Piracy is a “huge problem” in books, particularly in genres like student textbooks, and in the next five years “a critical layer” will be “the crossover between the consumer and educational sectors”.

The report’s section on books concluded: “Enterprise, institutional and government spending decisions in the coming years will hugely influence outcomes for Amazon, Apple and traditional publishers. But it seems doubtful that the core narrative thrust that lies at the heart of book reading will be much changed in the next 10 or 50 years, as that communication technique speaks so directly to who we are. And a still safe bet: UK publishers will continue to play a critical role in what is a rapidly growing global reading industry.”

The report was launched at Creative UK, an event organised by Enders Analysis and held at the BT Centre in London yesterday (March 18th).

Speakers at the Creative UK event at the BT Conference Centre included Penguin Random House chair Rebuck, who spoke about the talent of UK publishers in delivering stories to entertain, inspire and change people’s lives; minister for culture, communications and creative industries Ed Vaizey; Josh Berger, president and m.d. of Warner Bros. UK, Ireland and Spain; and Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of Arts Council England, who said that despite funding challenges, digital represents a great opportunity for the arts sector.