the PA booklet Publishing touches everyone
Publishing in the UK is the largest media sector, and the biggest creative industry. In its quality, diversity and reach, UK publishing leads the world.
Book, journal and electronic publishing contribute over £5 billion to the domestic economy and since 2004 sales of books have increased by 13 per cent. Every year, 120,000 new books are published in the UK and in 2008, UK publishers sold 855 million books around the world. The value of UK book exports is higher than the export turnover of any other creative industry. In fact, the UK exports more than any other publishing industry in the world. The export value of books to the British economy in 2008 was £1.1 billion, a 26 per cent increase on 2004. The UK publishing sector directly employs hundreds of thousands of people and is one of the most diverse in the world – from multi-national businesses to specialist academic publishers and small independents.
Publishers are risk-takers and investors. Their shared mission is to make content available, and to ensure, through constant innovation, that it is accessible to wider and wider audiences. Their skill in finding and supporting talent underpins the UK’s cultural diversity. British books inspire plays, musicals, films and television shows. Three of the top four highest grossing movie franchises are based on British books: James Bond, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Between them, they have grossed over US$12 billion to date. But books have more than a financial value. Reading can educate, motivate and transform. Research by the National Literacy Trust has shown that literacy has a significant and positive impact on an individual’s happiness and success.
The UK’s publishing sector leads the world in educational and academic resources, facilitating government literacy and numeracy policies and equipping the next generation with the skills they need in the 21st century. Educational, academic and professional books define the UK’s status as a world-class centre for education and research, and drive scientific progress. Journal publishers are custodians for the framework through which research communities share and generate ideas. Ninety per cent of all scholarly journals are now available electronically, and the ways in which they can be consulted and cross-referenced are transforming academic research. The reason the UK’s publishers attract contributions from the best minds in the world is their long-established record of excellence, where rigorous editorial and peer review processes underpin the quality and integrity of the scholarship.
Copyright protects the value of this creativity, innovation and originality. Creators need financial returns to survive, and publishers and authors depend on being able to protect their content so that writing, illustrating and publishing can remain commercially and creatively viable. Eight per cent of all economic activity in the UK is generated by industries which depend on the copyright framework for their continued success. Together they create millions of jobs. The UK owes its position as the largest exporting publishing industry in the world to our strong copyright laws. Copyright must be the bedrock on which the digital economy is built: it gives authors and publishers the confidence to make their material accessible in the first place. But if the principles of copyright are undermined, it will drive creativity into decline, meaning there will be less original content for us all to enjoy.