Updates to the (self-)publishing industry from the London Book Fair #AmWriting #LBF18 #BookMarketing

london book fairI arrived home late last evening from the London Book Fair with a notebook full of publishing notes, marketing ideas, and to-do lists. After three days of go! go! go!, I’m ready for weekend to start early – like right now. But I wanted to share some of the information about the publishing industry I learned at the fair before collapsing in my reading chair. *Please note: Facts and figures refer to the UK market, but I assume trends carry over to other markets as well*


  • Volume and spending on books of all types was down by 3% in 2017, but overall the trend is upward.
  • Paperbacks are still the backbone of the industry with 71% of purchases.
  • The strong growth of ebooks has peaked. The volume and spending on ebooks fell dramatically.
  • Audiobooks are growing strongly. This is a fertile growth area!
  • Younger females and 55+ readers are moving back to print when reading romance.
  • 22% of all ebooks are self-published.
  • 1/9 of reading takes place on phones.
  • Just under a half of audiobooks are bought on subscription.
  • Crime/thriller and historical fiction genres have grown well year after year.
  • 50% of books are purchased via etailers.
  • Purchasers who use etailers are motivated by price.
  • Purchasing from older groups is down.
  • 29% of book discovery is done via browsing.
  • 25% of readers choose a book because they’ve previously read another book from the author.
  • 8% of readers choose a book because they follow an author or due to an author event. This is an increasing area.
  • 9% of readers choose a book based on reviews or recommendations. Online dominates in this area.
  • 14% of readers choose a book because of word of mouth.
  • The five largest influences of a purchase are (in descending order): subject/genre, author, description, series and price/offer. Price/offer is losing ground.

“Wow, Dena, that’s a lot of facts and figures. What the heck am I supposed to do with them?”

I plan to use this information to guide my marketing and PR plan for the rest of the year. For example, I’ll be checking into audiobook possibilities. I’m also considering changing the company I use for paperback publication. Those are just a few ideas. I’ve got loads more. Let’s make this a great year!


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  1. Thanks for the information on your blog I found it very interesting. As an indie Author I would like to branch out into audio but the cost seems prohibitive at the moment. I would also like to find a cheaper way of producing my paperbacks As create space and Amazon can’t compete with Pricewise With paperbacks on supermarket shelves.

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