One of the elegant beauties of digital is that it drives interest in all books, not just the format. Digital offers consumers new discovery points and streaming services give consumers the chance to try new authors at no risk, that lead to new sales across formats.
The latest example comes from Norway where first quarter reports of a downturn in book sales (total sales down 6.8% and general book sales down 5.5%) evolved into a small but noticeable upturn in Q2, and an increase of 3.8% over H1 2018.
As Norway’s publishing trade journal Bok365 reports,
Norwegians read and listen to more books than before. In the first half of the year, book sales in the general market increased by 0.5 per cent compared with the first half of 2018. In particular, streaming and sales of e-books show great progress, and digital sales now account for almost a quarter of total sales.
Norwegian publishers reported H1 revenue of NOK 487 million ($54 million) in the general market, up from NOK 484 million in the first half of 2018.
Print fiction sales saw a stunning 42.2% increase over H1 2018.
Norwegian Publishing Association CEO Kristenn Einarsson said,
The negative trend is reversed and it feels fantastic! I never think the need and interest in good stories and learning has been greater, now it will be exciting to see if progress continues into the book harvest, there is reason to hope so.
A reminder in winding up this post that Norway is a country of just 5.4 million people, but with internet penetration at 98.4% that means there are 5.3 million Norwegians online, so no surprise digital books are where the action is heading.