There has been discussion in the media recently about the decline of the literary pages in newspapers. This has been highlighted by the sacking of two literary editors, at the download past episodes or subscribe to future episodes for free on the itunes Daily Telegraph and Time Out
Peter Wilby commented on the democratization of opinion: ‘It’s not new as a cultural trend, but the internet has given it new impetus. Newspapers may still claim an advantage in passing comment on politics, economics or foreign affairs because their writers have access to privileged information and can (sometimes) claim expertise. But anybody can read a book and say what they think of it, particularly if it’s fiction.’ (Guardian, 15 December 2008)
A November 2008 report from the Booksellers Association (BA) has concluded that booksellers in the UK have been hit hard by the discounting in the industry. Bookselling: International Market Comparisons – A Benchmarking Study of Profitability is a report commissioned by the BA Council which analyses how other bookselling markets operate in order to provide insight to UK booksellers on possible causes of differences in profitability.
The UK book market continued to grow in 2007 but between 2004 and 2007 the market share of bookshops (by value) declined from 57 per cent to 50 per cent. The market share of supermarkets and online retailers increased during this period.
The report examined the book trade in six countries – the UK, USA, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland – and concluded that profitability is lowest in the UK. The UK had the lowest average book price, £6.34, and the lowest gross profit per book, £1.60.