FutureBook has a piece looking at the rate of e-book adoption in the UK, which is still a few years behind the US but growing year to year. The first half of the article is a confusing flood of statistics, but it seems to conclude that, as of the end of 2011, e-book sales accounted for about 10% of the total book business among trade publishers in the UK. By comparison, Hachette stated that in the USA e-books made up 28% of its adult trade sales in the first quarter of 2012.

The article also looks at what the top-selling e-books are at the moment:

What is clear is that the biggest digital hits are the highly commercial titles such as One Day, Twilight, and the Rosamund Lupton books. However, books from Jodi Picoult and Martina Cole don’t appear yet to be repeating their print success in digital format, whereas e-book exclusives from Michael Connelly do seem to have had a knock-on impact for his other titles, while it is clear how author Stephen Leather’s self-publishing success has also helped drive up sales of one of his backlist books (even though Hachette excludes it from the list).

The title of the piece is a little confusing. It’s called “When e-books were growing”, but it doesn’t seem to provide any indication that they’ve stopped growing yet. It refers to a “step-change in e-book consumption since the beginning of the year” but doesn’t really explain what that change is. Maybe it’s somewhere in that confusing flood of statistics.


  1. I just noticed the other day something that may have an effect on the rate of growth of ebooks in the UK (and elsewhere) – The Book Depository has apparently closed down its ebook store, with no warning that I’ve seen or heard. No announcement, nothing I can find about it on their website anywhere. Go to http://www.bookdepository.com or .co.uk and there is no longer any link to ebooks anywhere on the site.

    If you’ve previously purchased any ebooks from them your order history still shows them with any remaining downloads (three is the maximum allowed for each purchase) still available, but no new purchases seem to be possible. While closing their ebook store following their takeover by Amazon is not exactly unexpected it is surprising that they gave no warning of this and have still made no announcement about it several days after it went missing.

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