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27 February 2021

2019 best ever year for publishing

27 July 2020

The Publishers Association published its 2019 Yearbook on 22 July 2020. It contains statistical analysis of publisher revenue for consumer, education, and academic books and journals with 100+ accompanying tables and graphs. 2019 was publishing's best year ever with total publishing sales reaching £6.3bn and growth across every sector.

The report is available to purchase for £95 or if you are a member of the Publishers Association, you can download it for free from their Members' Area.

Nielsen Book Research  compiled and analysed the Yearbook data from various statistics schemes.

In its press release of 22 July 2020, the Publishers Association said that:

The invoiced value of UK publisher sales of books, journals and rights/coeditions combined rose to £6.3bn in 2019, 4% higher than in 2018 and 20% higher than in 2015.

The Publishers Association's new figures show growth in both print and digital sales income. Exports remain crucial to the success of the industry, with export sales income accounting for 59% of total sales income.

Key statistics from the Publishers Association Yearbook 2019 include:

  • Print sales income up 3% to £3.5bn
  • Digital sales income up 4% to £2.8bn
  • Home sales income up 4% to £2.4bn
  • Export sales income up 3% to £3.7bn
  • Consumer audiobook downloads sales income up 39% to £97m
  • Non-fiction and reference sales income up to 6% to £1bn

Stephen Lotinga, CEO of the Publishers Association, said:

"Before the coronavirus pandemic the UK's publishing industry was flourishing with 2019 being the strongest year in the history of publishing. These robust figures reflect people's ongoing need and desire for books.

"The UK publishing industry was on course to be worth £10bn by 2030 before coronavirus, but that will only happen now if the government properly supports our recovery. This means ensuring there is a fair market for books - particularly support for bookshops, avoiding a no-deal Brexit and providing vital funding for schools and universities so they can buy the education resources that students need to learn remotely.

"Our 2019 Yearbook figures tell a story of pre-Covid success, but they do not reflect the significant challenges that publishers have faced during this pandemic. Despite those difficulties, we know that many people have continued to look to books for solace, enlightenment and entertainment."

See also Katherine Cowdrey's article Publishers Association hails 'biggest year ever for UK publishing' in latest report in The Bookseller of 23 July 2020.