UK general title digital book sales soar to £16m in 2010

Amazon Kindle 2 General title books are increasingly being read on digital devices, the data shows

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Sales of digital books are soaring in the UK, figures from the Publishers Association show.

The association said that in 2010 sales of e-books and audio book downloads in the "general titles" category, which includes novels and consumer titles, shot up from £4m to £16m.

Academic and professional books still dominated overall digital sales, which reached £180m last year.

It still remains a small proportion of total book sales, which hit £3.1bn.

However, the increased digital sales suggests devices such as Amazon's Kindle and the Sony Reader are increasingly making an impact.

Copyright review

Richard Mollet, chief executive of the Publishers Association, said: "Digital publishing is growing at an impressive rate in whichever part of the sector you choose to look.

"Now that technology is putting e-reading devices into consumers' hands, we are starting to see the rapid growth of digital sales in this area too, as consumer publishers develop digital formats to reach wider audiences."

He added the traditional print book market remains "hugely popular" and the figures suggest print and digital books will co-exist in the future.

In the US, electronic books sold more than either hardbacks or paperbacks in February.

The Publishers Association said the digital innovation taking place in the UK could be threatened if copyright laws are watered down in a government review.

Mr Mollet said: "The innovation in the digital marketplace and the strength of British publishers' export performance is only possible because of the robust and flexible copyright framework which underpins the UK creative industries."

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