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PA annual report: resilience and overall growth

On 17 April 2023, the Publishers Association released its new ‘A Year in Publishing’ summary statistics. These once again show growth for the sector, with total sales for the UK’s publishing industry reaching £6.9 billion – up 4% from 2021. 669 million physical books were also sold last year. This is the highest overall level ever recorded.  

The export market has played a huge role in the industry’s success in 2022 with an 8% increase, which takes its total to £4.1 billion. 

‘A Year in Publishing’ is a summary of the UK publishing industry’s response to another extraordinary year, containing statistical snapshots of the industry across sectors, formats and markets. 

Key figures include:  

  • UK publishing income has increased by 4% this year, taking the total to £6.9 billion  
  • We have seen a 1% decrease in the home market, which now totals £2.7 billion 
  • The export market has played a huge role in the industry’s success in 2022 with an 8% increase. This takes its total to £4.1 billion. 
  • Print has showed steady growth at 3%, with a total of £3.8 billion  
  • Digital is up 5% to £3.1 billion 

Dan Conway, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association: 

“2022 was yet another record-breaking year for UK publishing. The industry has shown strength in the face of what was a difficult year for many and has again proved the vital role it plays amongst the wider creative industries, as well as building the UK economy. 

The statistics truly are a testament to the timeless appeal of books; they offer comfort and escapism for readers, can be a good source of education and learning, and can last a lifetime. With the cost-of-living crisis continuing, reading as a comfort for adults and to encourage creativity and learning in children must be cherished. 

Trends such as #BookTok and the rise of ‘bookfluencers’ continue to encourage many to reignite their passion for reading, and trends like these will be pivotal in ensuring that the industry remains buoyant as we move into 2023. I am confident we can adapt and step up to the challenge – as we always have.” 

How did consumer publishing perform? 

  • The total consumer publishing income for 2022 is £2.3 billion, an increase of 2%.   
  • The Home market is valued at £1.4 billion, a decrease of 4%.  
  • The Export market is valued at £825 million, an increase of 13%. 
  • Fiction has grown the most, by 9% to £797 million, with children’s books up by 1% and non-fiction down by 2%.  
  • Audio downloads saw an 8% increase in 2022, to £164 million. 
  • Print remains king for consumer books, at £1.8 billion (up 2%) whilst digital grew by 2% but still only accounts for £423 million. 

How did education publishing perform?  

  • The total education publisher income for 2022 is £634 million, an increase of 16% 
  • The Home market is valued at £194 million for 2022, down 2% 
  • The Export market has increased by 26% to £440 million  
  • We see a 17% rise in print revenue, which now totals at £539 million  
  • Digital has gone up 11% and now accounts for £95 million 

How did academic publishing perform?  

  • The total academic publisher income has risen by 3% to £3.5 billion  
  • Home market has seen a jump of 2%, now equalling £1 billion 
  • The export market has seen a 3% rise, now totalling £2.5 billion  
  • Print has seen a drop of 4% to £977 million  
  • Digital is up 5% at £2.6 billion  
  • Books are up 5% at £1.2 billion  
  • Journals are up 2% at £2.4 billion  

You can find read the full A Year in Publishing summary on the PA website.