Publishing Trends2019-10-24T09:41:01+00:00

Project Description

Current trends we see that you might not expect


The latest statistics from UK book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan show that the print book market sales in the UK grew 2.1% in 2018. In the UK last year, 190.9m books were sold for a total of £1.63bn.  This was up £34m on 2017.

Perhaps most surprising of all, after growing year on year up to 2014, figures show that EBooks sales have actually declined for the past 4 years. Who would have thought?

A big question that publishers are grappling with is the potential negative impact of offering digital formats alongside print formats. Naturally, the worry is that because e-books offer the same content as their printed counterparts, at a lower price, that they will cannibalise print book sales.

But the picture emerging is that offering one format doesn’t appear to significantly impact sales on the other. E-book platform providers like Amazon claim e-books do not impact print sales… and research in the INFORMS journal Management Science found that delaying the sale of the e-version of a new book does not lead to increased print sales, and can result in significantly fewer e-book sales once the digital version is made available.


Since 2008, overall sales on the newsstand have declined by 60%. A decade ago, more than 20% of circulation for audited magazines came from single-copy sales… now that number is around 6%. Changes in consumer behaviour, a struggling high street and an expensive supply chain have contributed to struggles in this area.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel.

While some magazines have gone digital-only, other publishers and brands are revitalising the medium. Recent examples include The Economist relaunching a lifestyle magazine. Culture Trip, launching a publication about travel and Meredith creating a new title on pet care. And recently, we have helped new title GAFFER launch to great acclaim. As a business that helps new publications get off the ground, we have never been busier.

It seems that as people become more accustomed to paying for content online (and with publications less reliant on advertising), publishers and brands are starting to invest more into the print product as a way to cut through the digital noise and build a loyal base.

We are finding that the magazines showing newsstand growth all appear to demonstrate a common ability… they are doubling down on the qualities inherent to print, and are creating content that is uniquely different from all other mediums.  They also all demonstrate a clear focus on high-value special-interest communities.

Success requires positioning your brand to be the best in your field, ongoing investment in quality content and being able to deliver an experience that entertains and connects consumers to their passions.


Interesting news from TGNM, owners of the Guardian and The Independent, responding to rumours it was closing its print operation. It pointed out that print sales were actually GROWING. Across all channels, they are aiming to increase the number of supporters and subscribers to 2 million by 2022. But how?

  • New Format – TGNM ditched its unique-to-the-UK Berliner format and switched to tabloid at the beginning of last year, closing its two print plants and outsourcing print in the process. Print subscriptions to the Guardian, Observer and weekly news magazine Guardian Weekly – which offer a discount on the cover price – are at a record high of 110,000.
  • New Revenue Streams – Rather than instigating a paywall, it has adopted a supporter model whereby readers voluntarily contribute. This has grown to encompass 365,000 recurring contributors, with a further 340,000 one-off payments from around 300,000 accounts. It also has 190,000 subscribers to its app and tablet editions.

It all goes to show that print and digital publishing can succeed but an unwavering focus on developing revenue streams, sales and subscribers is critical… as well as ensuring speed and efficiency in production.

Relevant Services
  • Formats
  • Material Research
  • Prototyping
  • Print Production
  • Distribution
  • Online Newsstand

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