The Bookseller reports on a Bowker UK survey that the overall value of consumer book purchases in the UK has dropped 9% since 2008. Bowker blames the decrease on the rise of e-books—even though people are buying more e-books, the price of the e-books tends to be lower (especially since so many of them are self-published). E-books made up 5% of consumer book purchases by volume in the fourth quarter of 2011, but only 3% of the book market by value.
According to Bowker, that low average e-book price is due not least to purchases from self-publishers and new media companies, which the research company puts at “perhaps a fifth” of total e-book purchases by volume in 2011 although just 4% by value.
Of course, this only applies to the UK, whose e-book market is 12 to 15 months behind the US where e-book market share is concerned. It would be interesting to see what the equivalent statistics for the US look like, especially since the publishing industry has actually decreased the amount of money it earns per book due to agency pricing.