This has less to do the rise of ebooks than the volatility of book markets, which, according to Nielsen’s director of book research, Hazel Kenyon, can be swayed by trends and the success of individual titles.
Nothing demonstrates this quite as well as Brazil’s book sales, which have fluctuated wildly since 2013. Sales more than doubled in 2014, partly due to the runaway success of a cookbook by priest-turned-chef Padre Marcelo Rossi. But between 2015 and 2016, book sales fell by 9.7%.
In Ireland book sales rose by a notable 9% between 2015 and 2016. However, this is attributable in part to the success of titles marking the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising.
It seems the UK and US can thank a year of political turbulence in part for their increase in print sales. In the UK, parodies such as Five on Brexit Island, as well as children’s titles and lifestyle books, helped sales climb by 2.3%. In the US, religious and self-help titles contributed to a 1.3% rise.