Richard Mollet

Figures released today by The Publishers Association reveal the UK publishing industry to be maintaining its strength, diversity and innovation.  Overall book and academic journal sales remain steady at £4.3billion with digital revenues growing to 35% of the overall total.  Export sales now account for 44% of revenue.

Academic journals lead the way in digital publishing with electronic journals now accounting for 79% of all subscription income.  Consumer fiction remains hot on its heels with ebook sales increasing to 37% of total value and trebling in absolute terms in three years.

Publishers need to communicate better with authors, pay them more and utilise writers' skills to market books, but most writers would still choose to be published traditionally, a survey has found.

The Do You Love Your Publisher? survey, co-produced by authors Harry Bingham (in the UK) and Jane Friedman (in the US), questioned 812 writers with experience of being traditionally published on areas including publisher satisfaction, agenting and self-publishing; 310 of those questioned were authors based in the UK and Ireland.

Publishers from Belorussia, Pakistan, India, Denmark, Australia, Malaysia, the U.S. and China were among the winners of the first London Book Fair International Book Industry Excellence Awards, given in association with the Publishers Association and presented at the fair yesterday.

The search for the next publishing sensation, and digital business model, dominated the agenda at the opening day of the annual London Book Fair on Tuesday.

The head of the industry trade body warned that simply "turning a book into a PDF" was not innovative enough to capture readers' imaginations and sales. "In any sector, in any industry, stagnation is death. If you stand still, you are probably in danger because someone will come along and take your consumers from you," said Richard Mollet, chief executive of the Publishers Association.

Direct-selling to institutions by publishers proved a thorny issue at the Bookseller Association's Academic, Professional and Specialist conference in Brighton yesterday (12th March).

Giving a welcoming address at the event at the Old Ship Hotel, Dan Johns [pictured], the chairman of the BA's academic group, warned he would stop providing publishers with vital information if they continued to sell directly to universities.

 British publishers have reported their biggest annual sales ever and insisted rumours of their demise at the hands of growing e-book consumption are greatly exaggerated.

Total spending across printed and digital formats rose 4pc to hit £3.3bn in 2012, according to the Publishers Association.

Printed books still account for the vast majority of sales and slid by just one per cent to £2.9bn.

Publishers were cheered, however, as continued growth in the digital market more than made up for the shortfall.

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