publishing facts and figures


Official data

  • Publishing is estimated to have accounted for 193,000 jobs in the UK creative economy in 2016, almost 10 per cent of UK creative industries employment.
  • The Gross Value Added (GVA) by UK publishing in 2014 was estimated to be £10.2bn, which has risen from £9.26bn in 2008.
  • The GVA of publishing in 2014 rose by 2.8 per cent year on year, and has increased by an average of 1.6 per cent a year between 2008 and 2013.
  • In 2013, publishing exported services worth £1.31bn, up from £806m in 2009.
  • Two thirds of the UK population, 42 million people, read a newspaper in print or digitally every week. 
  • Newsbrands - national, regional and local newspapers in print and digital - are by far the biggest investors in news in the UK, accounting for more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of the total spend on news provision in the UK. 

Sources: DCMS Sector Economic Estimates, DCMS, July 2017Creative Industries Economic Estimates, DCMS, January 2016;  Creative Industries Focus on Employment, DCMS, June 2015;  The Publishers Association, May 2015,  NRS PADD, Jicreg; Ofcom


The UK publishing industry is highly productive 


  • The invoiced value of UK book publisher sales at home and abroad across physical and digital formats was £3.3bn in 2014, with 17 per cent of this figure accounted for by digital sales. (1)
  • Exports of physical and digital books were worth £1.45bn to UK publishers in 2014. (1)
  • There were 2,160 VAT-based publishers registered in the UK for 2013/4, with the highest concentrations found in London (585), the South East (445), the East (250) and the South West (240). (1)
  • Nielsen Book recorded 184,400 new and revised titles were published in the UK during 2013, iof which 61,300 were digital. (1)
  • The UK is a leading publisher of newspaper and magazine titles. The UK customer publishing industry is the most developed in the world and is worth over £1bn each year. (2)
  • There are over 3,210 consumer magazine titles in the UK, reaching 87 per cent of the total adult population. UK consumers will spend an estimated £2.5bn on magazines in 2013. (3)


1. The UK Book Industry in Statistics 2014, The Publishers Association;

2. Content Marketing Association.

3. PPA.


The UK publishing industry is highly successful in overseas markets


  • Over 40 per cent of the UK publishing industry’s revenue from physical books is generated by export sales. (1)
  • UK publishers exported physical books worth over £1.2bn in 2014, and digital titles to the value of £203m. (1)
  • There were 2,611 translated titles published in the UK in 2012 or approximately 3.1 per cent of titles recorded by the British National Bibliographical (BNB).
  • Europe remains the biggest regional destination for UK book exports, accounting for 44 per cent of UK book exports between 2010 and 2014. North America

Sources: The UK Book Industry in Statistics 2014, The Publishers Association.


The UK publishing industry has a rich history of innovation


  • UK publishing companies are at the forefront of the knowledge economy and a driving force in the innovation of digital business models. (1)
  • The UK is a world leader in the development of international standards for the electronic access and delivery of content, bibliographic information and publishing e-commerce. The UK benefits from a strong commitment to freedom of expression and anti-piracy laws, which help ensure that the huge amount of creative content generated is legally protected and enforced.(1)
  • UK newsbrands have large and increasing audiences which are powering growth in digital revenues. The rise of digital technology in recent years has expanded the number of ways for newsbrands to engage with audiences. It is a mainstream habit for a UK press reader to consume news media in print and online, and to follow journalists and news organisations on social media (2)
  • The UK's Publishers Association is a leading force in the battle to suppress international copyright piracy.(1)
  • The Statute of Anne, enacted in 1709, formed the basis of copyright law in the UK. It is now generally recognised as the first legislation to protect the interests of authors and publishers in the Western world and has been regularly updated to take account of technological change and the emergence of new media.(1)
  • The UK was one of the protagonists of the Berne Convention of 1888, which provided the basis for the international protection of intellectual property. (1)
  • Britain's press has a rich heritage and can trace its history back more than 300 years, to the time of William of Orange. Berrow's Worcester Journal, which started life as the Worcester Postman in 1690 and was published regularly from 1709. It is believed to be the oldest surviving English newspaper.(2)
  • UK book publishers have been pioneers in the introduction of environmentally friendly strategies for their businesses, for instance in the use of sustainable paper resources and the reduction of chemically damaging production processes. (1)
  • International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs), which are fundamental to all modern bibliographic and publishing e-commerce systems, had their origins in the UK in 1966.(1)
  • In the 19th century, the UK introduced the steam-powered presses which transformed the publishing industry, bringing printed material to a rapidly expanding market.(1)


Publishers Association; News Media Association.