Books sales surge as readers prove that paper isn’t dead

A manufacturing report from the Office for National statistics also suggests puzzles and model train sets are still popular

The boss of Watersones recently said kindle sales were declining

By Elizabeth Anderson

Sales of books, brochures and pamphlets surged 6.7pc last year to £952.6m, adding weight to the argument that e-readers have reached the peak of their popularity.

Since the start of the UK recession in 2008, sales of printed publications and books have risen by an average of 8.6pc each year, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Amazon launched the Kindle, which is now in its seventh generation, in 2007. Sales peaked in 2011 at around 13.44m  Photo: Bloomberg News

The data echo comments from the boss of Waterstones, who said earlier this year that Kindle sales were “disappearing”.

Waterstones teamed up with Amazon in 2012 to sell the Kindle in its stores, but in October the chain said it would be removing Kindles from display space and replacing them with print books due to ÔÇ£pitiful sales”.

ÔÇ£E-books have developed a share of the market, of course they have, but every indication ÔÇô certainly from America ÔÇô shows the share is already in decline. The indications are that it will do exactly the same in the UK,” Waterstones boss James Daunt told the Oxford Literary Festival.

The ONS also said that sales of games and toys have jumped 54.8pc since 2008 to £316.2m last year, with growth led by sales of electric model trains and accessories. In total, scale models and construction toys have risen from £8.6m in 2008 to £26.9m in 2014.

Sales of puzzles, valued at £10.5m in 2014, are up from £9m in 2013, but lower than the 2008 figure of £11.6m.

The ONS looked at 3,805 products for its annual report on UK manufacturersÔÇÖ sales by product. In total, the value of UK manufacturersÔÇÖ product sales reached ┬ú363.9bn last year, a 2.6pc increase on 2013.