Book gifting on the decline, Self-Pub continues to rise

Book giftingConsumer book sales fell 4% in volume and value in 2013, according to Nielsen Book’s Books & Consumers Annual Review, released Monday 28 July.

The decline came from consumer purchasing of books in print, with the number of ebooks purchased increasing from one in five to one in four of all books bought. But the lower prices of ebooks resulted in their contribution to only 14% of book sales by value.

Ebooks accounted for more than 40% of adult fiction purchases, one in eight of non-fiction purchases, and one in 10 of children’s book purchases.

Within adult fiction, ebooks enjoyed their highest market shares in the romance, crime, and fantasy categories. In non-fiction, the bestselling ebook genres were true crime, self-help and mind/body/spirit. In children’s, the ebook share varied from one in five of adventure, fantasy and relationship stories to less than 5% of non-fiction and younger children’s formats.

Books & Consumers also reported a rise in sales of self-published titles.

Jo Henry, International Consumer Research Director at Nielsen Book, said: “One concerning trend noted in the survey is the drop in books being bought as gifts. In the UK, the share of the book market taken by gift purchases reduced 2% points, from 24% to 22%; this equates to a decrease of some 9m books bought as gifts in 2013 compared to the previous year, a phenomenon that has also been noted in the US Books & Consumers survey.

“In view of the importance of the gift market to the book industry, Nielsen Book Research is proposing a further study to understand what is behind the apparent decrease in the value that consumers are placing on books as gifts and what might be done to counteract this.”

The story has received wide pick-up across the media, including the BBC, The Telegraph, Independent and The Bookseller.

 

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