In Britain Publishers Wax and Wane Amid Growing E-book Market

November 11, 2013

As e-book popularity continues to rise, casualties in the publishing world are not limited to U.S. markets alone. In 2013, ninety-eight British publishers closed their doors. According to The Guardian, these closures represent a 42% rise over the previous year. The cause of the decline in print publishing success is easy to glean given that 2012 e-book sales rose by 134%. To keep things in perspective, however, in Britain print books still rule the market. While e-books sold $346 million, print sales totaled more than $4.6 billion, a 1% drop from last year.

So which publishing houses are most vulnerable? According to accounting firm Wilkins and Kennedy partner Anthony Cork “the rise of Amazon and other discount sellers with massive buying power means the pressure on publishers' margins is now immense. While publishers might be able to sustain relatively small margins on a bestseller, it is much harder for niche publishers." Independent booksellers, however, seem impervious to the numbers. Thirty-nine new independent booksellers opened their doors in 2012. That is just over half the number that went out of business the same year.

Links: The Guardian , Melville House

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