Figures released by U.K.'s Publishers Association show that last year industry total sales rose 5%, hitting £6.7 billion. The total includes books, journals and rights/co-editions sales. Total sales in the U.K. rose 7%, to £2.7 billion, while export sales were up by a modest 2%, to £3.8 billion.

Key findings in the report include: total print up 5% to £3.5 billion, with a net volume of 653 million units, up 8%; total digital up 5% to £3.2 billion; consumer (trade) sales up 4% to £2.2 billion; fiction up 7% to £733 million; nonfiction up 1% to £1.1 billion; children’s up 7% to £425 million and audio downloads up 14% to £151 million.

Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of the Publishers Association, said: "2021 was another tremendous year for U.K. publishing. Our outstanding authors provided readers with the entertainment and comfort they so badly needed as the pandemic continued. It’s been particularly interesting to see TikTok communities driving new interest in books – particularly of fiction and Young Adult titles.

"While the industry has done well during the pandemic, we have also seen further consolidation of sales on a single digital market platform. Such a lack of competition cannot benefit readers in the long-term and that is why it is more important than ever that the government meets its commitment to bring forward new powers to properly regulate the tech giants in the forthcoming Queen’s speech.”

In terms of consumer publishing's 4% increase, the U.K. market up 2% to £1.5 billion, and the export market jumped 8%, to £727 million. Print was up 5% to £1.8 billion, but digital dropped slightly, by 1%, to £416 million. In the home market, print was up 3% to £1.2 million but exports rose 10% to £576 million.

Of the three core sectors of consumer, education and academic, only education publishing remains below pre-pandemic levels. Total education publishing income was up 5% over 2020, to £552 million, but still down from the £668 million the sector reached in 2019. In the U.K., last year the market was up 12% to £198 million, while the export market was far more sluggish, up only 1% to £354 million (and much lower than the £482 million of 2019). Across the sector, print was up 1% to £467 million (again much lower than the £606 million in 2019) but digital rose much more sharply, by 28% to £85 million.

As a sector, academic publishing saw its income up 4% to £3.5 billion, with the U.K. market up 14% to £1 billion and the export market flat at £2.4 billion. Digital was up 5% to £2.6 billion but print was flat at £862 million. Books sales were up 8% to £1.1 billion with journals up 2% to £2.3 billion. Journal exports (£1.9 billion) continue to account for over half of academic publishing's sales income.

The original version of this story ran in the U.K. trade publication BookBrunch.