UK books sales are holding up against digital ebooks. Here are a couple of Guardian newspaper headlines from 2017:
Ebook sales continue to fall as younger generations drive appetite for print
‘Screen fatigue’ sees UK ebook sales plunge 17% as readers return to print
And here is an extract from the Bookseller 2017 report that seems to be saying that ebooks are preferred for reference and work-related books, but for pleasure, it’s physical books that people want.
Altogether total book sale income (physical and digital) was up 4% in 2017 to £3.7bn. Physical book sales continue to outpace digital, with revenue up 5% last year to £3.1bn, while total digital sales income including journals rose 3% to £1.8bn. However, stripping out journals, digital book sales are down by 2% to £543m and consumer e-book sales are down even further by 7% to £191m. In the domestic consumer market e-book sales dived even deeper, down 9% to £139m and within that fiction e-book sales were down 11%, although non-fiction e-books were up 4%, showing that consumers are increasingly reading cookbooks, illustrated and reference books on devices. The figures mean consumer e-books account for 35% of the invoiced value of UK publishers’ digital sales in 2017, down from 51% in 2013.
But where do people find these physical books? It doesn’t take me to say that over the past few years bookshops everywhere have been closing. We used to like Borders – a bit different, relaxed, books you wouldn’t find in W.H. Smiths. Ah well.
In the UK, that leaves Waterstones. It has been growing year on year since the new CEO took over and gave each store manager the authority to buy what suits that store’s local market.
All of which is a long introduction to the specific topic of this post, which is that I noticed a book on Gerda Taro on the bookshelves at Waterstones yesterday. If you didn’t catch my post on her, here’s the link to the tribute to Gerda Taro.
The book is the small one on the middle shelf in the photo above. There’s the photo of her on the cover of her, with Endre Friedmann looking at her and smiling.
A million years ago.