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PA industry statistics show 2021 a record year for UK publishing

The Publishers Association (PA) has published its latest annual industry statistics – Publishing in 2021 – featuring key numbers and commentary around sales income, formats and key export markets for the whole industry.

It reported that UK publisher sales rose 5% to £6.7 billion in 2021, a new high for the industry. This included books, journals and rights/co-editions sales combined.

Total UK sales income rose 7% to £2.7 billion. Total export sales income rose 2% to £3.8 billion.

Key findings include:

  • Total print up 5% to £3.5 billion
  • Total digital up 5% to £3.2 billion
  • Consumer books up 4% to £2.2 billion
  • Fiction up 7% to £733 million
  • Non-fiction up 1% to £1.1 billion
  • Children’s up 7% to £425 million
  • Audio downloads up 14% to £151 million

Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive of the PA:

“2021 was another tremendous year for UK publishing. Our outstanding authors provided readers with the entertainment and comfort they so badly needed as the pandemic continued. It’s been particularly interesting to see TikTok communities driving new interest in books – particularly of fiction and Young Adult titles.

“While the industry has done well during the pandemic, we have also seen further consolidation of sales on a single digital market platform. Such a lack of competition cannot benefit readers in the long-term and that is why it is more important than ever that the government meets its commitment to bring forward new powers to properly regulate the tech giants in the forthcoming Queen’s speech.”

See the PA website for the press release of 21 April 2022 and a shortened version of Publishing in 2021.

For comment on the report, see: