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12 May 2021

Publishing in 2020 report from the PA

27 April 2021

On 27 April 2021 the Publishers Association published its latest overview of the UK publishing industry and found publishing in 2020 to be resilient in the face of Covid.

The invoiced value of UK publisher sales of books, journals and rights/co-editions combined rose 2% to £6.4 billion in 2020. UK sales income rose 4% to £2.5 billion while export sales income remained unchanged year-on-year at £3.7 billion.

Key findings include:

  • Total print down 6% to £3.4 billion
  • Total digital up 12% to £3 billion
  • Total consumer publishing sales income rose 7% to £2.1 billion
  • Fiction up 16% to £688 million
  • Non-fiction up 4% to £1 billion
  • Audio downloads up 37% to £133 million
  • Children's up 2% to £396 million

Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association:

"Publishing has proved incredibly resilient throughout the significant challenges of 2020. It's clear that many people rediscovered their love of reading last year and that publishers were able to deliver the entertaining and thought-provoking books that so many of us needed.

"Despite the positive overall performance of the publishing industry, we shouldn't ignore the fact that it's been a particularly challenging year for education publishers and many smaller publishers. It's also been a hugely difficult time for many booksellers and authors whose livelihoods have been enormously disrupted.

"With bookshops now able to reopen, and physical events returning, we are optimistic that people will soon be able to enjoy books together again. We need to harness this return to reading and build on the huge opportunity this presents to everyone." 

For more on this and to download the report, see the Publishers Association website

See also Marc Chandler's article in The Bookseller of 27 April 2021: UK publishing income up 2% in Covid-hit 2020 despite print decline.