Self-published writers take 20% share of UK ebook market

Self-published ebooks grabbed a fifth of total ebook sales in the UK last year as overall UK ebook business bucked the slowdown trend to rise sharply by 20%.

Figures from research firm Nielsen show the UK ebook sector hit £80 million in sales in 2013 and ebooks were about 25% of the overall book market in unit terms.

Print books are still way in the lead on £2.2 billion, down by just 5% from the previous year, buoyed by massive sales of expensive cookbooks by celebrity chefs and the phenomenally best-selling latest autobiography of retired Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, although ebooks took a quarter of total unit sales in the book market, they only accounted for around 14% in financial terms, due largely to lower prices on ebooks than for print books.

Another new Nielsen report covering the UK book industry finds some encouraging signs for UK travel publishers.

The company says after years of declines across the board, some categories and some publishers saw growth for the first time in many years in 2013. The decline in the overall market for guides and maps also slowed.

The 2014 edition of the Nielsen BookScan Travel Publishing Year Book, compiled by travel publishing analyst, Stephen Mesquita, using data from Nielsen BookScan, shows:

  • Sales in World Travel Guides, the biggest category, were down by 4.7% in 2013 compared with falls of 7%, 12%, 10% and 12% in 2009-12.

  • Some major travel guide publishers saw sales rise.

  • The decline in map sales slowed from -10.4% in 2012 to -4.8% in 2013.

  • Travel Guides outperformed the Total Consumer Market