According to Nielsen's UK Book Market in Review 2021, purchases of ebooks in the UK in 2021 fell to 80 million which represents a record low since 2012. This drop in the number of ebooks sold follows a record high in 2020 when 95 million were purchased. Ebook sales had previously been on an upward trend.
Estimated spending of just over £340 million on ebooks in 2021 was still above spending on ebooks in some years of the previous decade due to the current higher prices of ebooks.
While ebook sales fell in 2021, sales of print books remained at 2020 levels and audiobook sales continued to increase.
Of all the genres, the most likely to be bought as an ebook was erotic fiction, with over 60% being bought digitally. Not surprisingly, the percentage of graphic novels and children’s fiction bought as ebooks remains low with readers overwhelmingly preferring to purchase these in print versions.
Women over 45 were the cohort most likely to buy ebooks with 37% of ebook purchases being made by this group.
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