Books move from gifts to treats

Gifting of books has fallen by 8% since 2012, while buying for yourself has risen by 8%, Jo Henry of Nielsen Book told The London Book Fair’s Quantum Conference on Monday.

The biggest fall noticed in Nielsen’s Books & Consumer survey was in spouses and partners buying books as gifts for each other which fell 21% to 12 million units.

In 2012, consumers bought 217 million books as purchases for themselves, of which 157 million were print and 60 million were digital. In 2015, consumers bought 231 million books for themselves, of which 142 million were in print and 89 million were digital.

In contrast, consumers bought 113 million books for others in 2015, down from 124 million in 2012. Of these only a small fraction were digital, 4 million in 2014 and 6 million in 2015.

Overall Nielsen’s survey revealed a 4% volume and 5% value increase in the UK consumer book purchasing in 2015, with growth in printed formats as well as e-books.

Jo Henry, Nielsen speaking at The London Book Fair’s Quantum Conference told the attendees:

“The decrease reflects fewer books bought as birthday presents or as impulse gifts, with purchases of books for spouses/partners falling fastest over the four years, with decreases as well in books bought by grandparents and mums, but less so dads.”

Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair, said:

“It’s fascinating to hear about the changes in book purchasing by consumers, as the international publishing industry gathers at the Fair this week. There is no doubt that the digital revolution has hit publishing in a completely different way to other creative industries, with print books making something of a comeback last year, and I look forward to finding out more about emerging digital and print reading habits this week at the show.”

Staged annually The London Book Fair sees more than 25,000 publishing and other creative industry professionals arrive in London from over 124 countries for the week of the Fair to learn, network and do deals.

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