UK Book Trends revealed at The London Book Fair

  • Politics book sales double
  • Children’s non-fiction grows by 30%
  • Audio Boom continues with 13% growth

Audiobooks, Politics & Government titles and Children’s non-fiction showed very strong growth in book sales in 2018, Nielsen Book revealed at The London Book Fair’s Quantum Conference today.

Overall the print book market held steady in 2018, with a 3 per cent increase in volume, while other areas of the book market saw significant growth.

Audiobook Boom Continues, as Young Men Drive Growth

Audiobooks volume grew again in 2018, up 13 per cent since 2017 and up 87% since 2014.*

Audiobooks retain their position as the fastest-growing publishing format. Audiobooks now account for five per cent of all book purchases and have doubled their share of fiction sales. 40 per cent of audio sales are through subscription models, and young men are the biggest audio consumers.

Adult Non-fiction Up, led by Politics

Non-fiction has also seen rise in popularity in 2018, now accounting for 40 per cent of all book sales (up 3 per cent since 2014) with the quickest growing category being Politics & Government titles with 170 per cent increase (up to 1.8m books in volume). Biographies and Autobiographies also did well up by 15 per cent year on year, boosted by titles including Michele Obama’s Becoming and continuing sales for Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt, but there was strength and depth with many memoirs selling well outside of the top ten.

Children’s Non-fiction Soars

Children’s general non-fiction has grown 30 per cent in 2018, with selling 590,000 more copies than in 2017. One of the main contributors to this growth include feminist and inspiring stories for children, books aimed at helping children boost confidence such as You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed, poetry and narrative information books.

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

“There are so many reasons to be excited about the book market in the UK right now. Audio has been one of the major success stories in publishing over the past five years, and its incredible growth clearly shows no sign of abating. Meanwhile, the growth in popularity of non-fiction in both the adults’ and children’s markets highlights the vital role books play as a destination for deeper understanding of the world today.”

Hazel Kenyon, Director of Book Research UK, Nielsen Book, commented:

“The strength and depth of Non-Fiction in particular has been really encouraging to see, especially since this segment holds the largest share of the UK market. There have been success stories in many categories indicating the consumer appetite for understanding the world and for a good, inspiring story across both adults and children’s ranges.”

*Source: Nielsen BookScan

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