The UK has a vibrant publishing sector covering books, electronic publishing, journals, newspapers and magazines. The UK book publishing sector is one of the most successful in terms of the breadth, depth and quality of the content it publishes and the multiple ways in which it brings content to market. Total sales of UKbooks, journals and rights were estimated at over £6bn in 2018, according to the Publishers Association.
The country has the second-largest book publishing sector in europe, according to the Federation of European Publishers. According to Nielsen Book, there were 173,000 new and revised titles published in the UK in 2015. The UK's customer publishing industry, which operates across print, web and other digital media, is the most developed in the world. (Source: Content Market Assocation)
The UK newspaper sector is a global leader in news media and carries influence both through the power of its journalism and the commercial opportunities it offers to advertisers. The rise of readership using digital media has been well documented but industry analysts are increasingly pointing towards the engagement readers have with the printed newspaper as an important resource for advertisers which may have been overlooked in recent years.
Revenue from exports of physical and digital books from the UK was £1.6bn in 2018, with the UK being the largest exporter of books, brochures and leaflets (Source: The Publishers Association). An estimated 45 per cent of physical book sales revenues are due to exports,w ith the UK capturing a growing share of physical book exports in the Americas and the East and South East Asian regions.
In children's books, exports of physical books from the UK grew by 7 per cent in value and over 12 per cent in volume in 2018. JK Rowling's Harry Potter series have sold over 500m copies worldwide, but other internationally successful authors in this genre include Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter, Anthony Browne, Lewis Carroll, C.S Lewis and Enid Blyton.
The UK's magazine sector is one of the most competitive and vibrant in the world, and has historically been strong at launching brands such as The Economist and FHM that have gone on to international success.
UK news groups have also proven adept at developing web brands for an international audience with the Daily Mail, The Guardian, and Financial Times all attracting large overseas audiences for their mixture of news, commentary and interactivity. For example, in November 2013 the Mail Online attracted a record 168m browsers and The Guardian just under 84m. (Source: Newsworks)
Digital revenues accounted for 43 per cent of UK publishers' revenue, with £653m coming from digital books, according to The Publishers Association.
Publishers have developed the skills to create content for tablets, smartphones, games and other platforms.
The UK's news groups have also developed globally successful online brands, with the Daily Mail, The Guardian and the Financial Times attracting strong international audiences.
The international importance of the English language gives the UK publishing industry a powerful competitive advantage. New opportunities for UK publishers in non-English-speaking countries are being created as English increasingly becomes the preferred second language in many markets.
The UK is an international leader in the production of Scientific, Technical and Medical (STM) research journals and databases, and business-to-business information. UK publishers have also played a leading part in the development of the international market for works in English from other cultures, such as African, Caribbean and Indian literature.
UK published research is responsible for 14 per cent of the world's most highly-cited articles, with a field weighted citation impact which is 50 per cent higher than the world average, and twice that of China. (Source: International Association of STM publishers).
The annual London Book Fair is one of the world’s leading events for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. Some 25,000 publishers, booksellers, literary agents, librarians, and media and industry suppliers from 135 countries attend the fair. (Source: London Book Fair)
UK newspapers remain hugely influential, often publishing stories which set the agenda across the world. The Guardian’s revelations about state surveillance on phone and internet communications in the United States based on information passed to the paper by Edward Snowden remained high on the world agenda for months earning the paper the Pulitzer Prize for public service.
The UK’s publishing and creative scene seeds creativity in other sectors, like film, television, games, live events and theatre.
UK books are behind three of the world's biggest film franchises (Harry Potter, James Bond, and The Lord of the Rings), and between 2007 and 2016, 52 per cent of the top 20 UK domestic box office films were based on published material (Source: The Publishers Association)
The UK’s school, college and higher education systems rely almost entirely on textbooks and other learning resources supplied by the country's commercial publishing industry. UK publishers play a major role in the support of the research, scientific and professional communities.
Newspapers play a special role in society promoting literacy and keeping people informed about things they have a right to know about. UK newspapers promote literacy through campaigning such as the Evening Standard’s long standing 'Get London Reading' campaign which has helped more than 2,300 children at 280 schools, as well as receiving the backing of celebrities and politicians. The Sun ran a campaign called 'Get Kids Reading' which aims to promote literacy among young people.