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Book Publishing in the UK Industry Revenue Down 3.9%

The United Kingdom is home to some of the oldest and most respected book publishers in the world. In fact, Cambridge University Press is the world's oldest publisher and has been operating continuously since 1584. A good reputation and strong local copyright laws have made the United Kingdom the biggest exporter of books in the world.

The Book Publishing industry is expected to generate revenue of £3.96 billion in 2012-13, down 1.7% from the previous year. The industry is export-oriented, with exports accounting for 46.1% of revenue. Industry revenue is estimated to have decreased at a compound annual rate of 3.9% over the past five years. Weak consumer confidence and consumer spending negatively affect consumer book sales. According to IBISWorld industry analyst Andrew Johnson, "growth in electronic book (e-book) sales will erode sales of physical books but e-book profit margins are higher than physical books even though they sell for less". Schoolbook sales have been, and are expected to continue to be, influenced by a decline in the number of school students due to demographic factors. Book sales to the university market have strengthened in response to an increase in total university enrolments (and in full-time enrolments). Government funding pressures are expected to adversely affect education book sales. Imports are expected to gain market share, although growth in book exports will partly compensate for this.

Industry revenue is forecast to grow modestly over the next five year to 2017-18. Economic conditions will likely improve, which will promote consumer book sales. There are a number of opportunities and risks for industry operators. Johnson adds, "digital (or electronic) books can help reduce industry costs, provide new distribution options and bolster profit margins". However, the industry needs to grapple with the interests of other players in the supply chain that may seek to take on bigger roles in the publication and distribution of physical books and e-books, which is likely to help shape the structure of the industry over the coming years.

The Book Publishing industry has a medium level of market share concentration with the top four companies estimated to account for about 41.5% of industry revenue in 2012-13. The degree of concentration has increased since 2007 when the same four players accounted for 27.4% of the market. Major companies include Pearson, Hachette UK, Random House, HarperCollins and Reed Elsevier..

For more information on the Book Publishing industry, including latest industry trends, statistics, analysis and market share information, purchase the full report from IBISWorld, the nation's largest publisher of industry research.


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