Brands Featured

  • waterstones.com
  • theworks.co.uk
  • bookdepository.com
  • forbiddenplanet.com
  • abebooks.co.uk
  • whsmith.co.uk
  • kobo.com
  • thebookpeople.co.uk
  • foyles.co.uk
  • wordery.com
  • hive.co.uk
  • barnesandnoble.com
  • powells.com
  • blackwells.co.uk
  • worldofbooks.com
  • betterworldbooks.com
  • biblio.co.uk
  • shelterbox.org
  • booksamillion.com
  • foliosociety.com
  • webuybooks.co.uk
  • alibris.co.uk
  • awesomebooks.com
  • booksetc.co.uk
  • counter-print.co.uk
  • guardianbookshop.com
  • bookishly.co.uk
  • peachpit.com
  • bookendsonline.co.uk
  • onethirdstories.com
  • newsfromnowhere.org.uk
  • readinginheels.com
  • thewilloughbybookclub.co.uk
  • ebooks.com
  • bertrams.com
  • gardners.com
  • bookboxclub.com
  • wildestdreamsbookbox.com
  • audiobooks.co.uk
  • valorebooks.com
  • iamawildwoman.com
  • wenlockbooks.co.uk
  • mrbooks.co.uk
  • burwaybooks.co.uk
  • booksthatmatter.co.uk
  • illumicrate.com
  • paulineuk.org
  • thebookfayre.com
  • mrbsemporium.com
  • dubraybooks.ie
  • welbooks.co.uk
  • fergianibooks.com
  • chilternbookshops.co.uk
  • ceresbookshopswaffham.co.uk
  • haylingislandbookshop.co.uk
  • prudenceandthecrow.com
  • rarebirdsbookclub.com
  • mychroniclebookbox.com
  • cotswoldinternetbooks.com
  • nairnbookshop.co.uk
  • datenightwithabook.com
  • langbooks.co.uk
  • bookbutler.co.uk
  • academic-bookshop.com
  • bartonsbookshop.co.uk
  • oldhallbooks.com
  • teaandbookclub.com
  • glowwormbooks.co.uk
  • phoenixbooks.co.uk

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What to expect inside

  • 2020 Book Industry Report Front Cover
  • 2020 Book Industry Report Vis Year On Year
  • 2020 Book Industry Report Winners & Losers

Latest insights

  • waterstones.com has the best Brand Reach Score Score in the book industry
  • bookboon.com has the best page speed across both mobile and desktop
  • Sites that have grown considerably in SEO visibility YOY are: waterstones.com, whsmith.co.uk and blackwells.co.uk
  • Sites that have lost visibility in the last year are: theworks.co.uk & thebookpeople.co.uk

10 minutes Reading time

20 pages Length

What to expect from our book industry report

We’ve been exploring the pages of the book industry in this iteration of our sector reports, seeing who’s got the best online marketing strategy. Inside, you’ll discover your competitor’s best strategies, analysed using a range of important marketing metrics.

If you’re looking to upgrade your online performance this year, and beyond, get your hands on this free UK book market report now. Use the form above and we’ll send it to you asap.

Why is SEO important for the book industry?

With the rise of audiobooks and e-books, booksellers have more to compete with than ever before. Making sure your customers can access your website with ease, and granting them an experience they’ll choose to return to, has become a key survival tactic of many online book brands. To help, our booksellers report looks into the key components of any successful SEO campaign:

  • Visibility – how visible are you on search engines to your customers? Think of Google as the high-street: if your brand’s SEO is on point, you’ve got the four-storey department store in the heart of the city centre.
  • Keywords – the nuts and bolts of any search campaign. What are the terms your customers search for? Which of these do you target? Are you doing it well? Are there any other opportunity keywords you’re missing?
  • Page speed –  a fast website means greater keyword rankings and visibility. Going clean and fast-to-load website will also persuade the digitally-savvy of the 21st century to come back again and again.
  • Social Media – From audience-building via twitter to inspiring next-gen buyers through Instagram, there’s incredible scope to bring your book brand front and centre for your target audience. We combine social performance into one handy score, showing which brands are leading the pack and those who need work.

The winners and losers in the online book industry

The online book industry has been soaring in the recent pandemic. The industry is up by 57% overall! This is huge when compared with many other industries we’ve looked into in the past few months.

A lot of brands have good increases in visibility. These include big brands such as Waterstones and WHSmith, as well as smaller brands like Black Wells.

Despite the overall boost in the industry, some brands didn’t do so well. These included The Works, The Book People, and World of Books.

Want to see the complete breakdown of all your biggest competitors in our exclusive league table? Get the free report using the form above now.  

Which are the biggest online book industry brands in 2020?

Here is a quick rundown of the top 10 sites:

  1. waterstones.com
  2. whsmith.co.uk
  3. abebooks.co.uk
  4. theworks.co.uk
  5. bookdepository.com
  6. thebookpeople.co.uk
  7. blackwells.co.uk
  8. barnesandnoble.com
  9. worldofbooks.com
  10. abebooks.com

Which book industry brands have seen the biggest growth in 2020?

  1. waterstones.com (41%)
  2. whsmith.co.uk (53%)
  3. abebooks.co.uk (41%)
  4. bookdepository.com (75%)
  5. blackwells.co.uk (151%)

Which online book industry brands have seen the biggest losses in 2020?

  1. theworks.co.uk (-42%)
  2. thebookpeople.co.uk (-47%)
  3. worldofbooks.com (-23%)
  4. hive.co.uk (-31%)
  5. kobo.com (-39%)

What high competition keywords are available for the UK book market?

High competition keywords are those tough search queries we’d all love to rank for. You know the ones. The ones that have a large amount of search volume but also have sites like Waterstones ranking for them.

These are the keywords that can seem impossible to reach. Yet, if you had the right strategy, you’d be able to craft a stella plan that could snatch these opportunities up in no time.

Anyway, in the meantime, understanding who sits on the first page for these terms is important. It will tell us what Google wants to see and how we can align content to match intent.

The most competitive keyword in the online book industry is ‘children’s books’, which receives nearly 50K searches every month. Damn. That’s a lot. Imagine what impact that would have on your business? Especially if you were sitting in the number one spot.

As for the number one spot, that goes to Waterstones. So congrats to them. Second place goes to Book Depository and third goes to The Works, despite having a drop year-on-year.

Want to see more high competition keywords in the book industry, as well as the brands that rank for them? Download the free report now.

What keyword opportunities are available for the UK book market?

As well as high competition keywords, opportunity keywords also exist in the book industry. These are opportunities that have high search volume and low competition…

Getting them is a big deal and can sometimes only require a few copy tweaks.

Here’s what we noticed in the SERPs when looking to the opportunity keywords found in our report.

Rare Books = Great Opportunity

One thing that we identified in our recent article on the book industry was the opportunity in rare books, and this report yields a similar finding.

The best opportunity found in the data was rare books, with the main keyword receiving over 6K searches every month.

The real problem with this keyword and opportunity involves actually getting the products in the first place. The books are rare for a reason, after all!

However, if you’re a larger (or smaller) brand looking to expand your book range and snatch a few easy keywords in the process, investing in the rare book category could be incredibly profitable.

How are online bookstore brands performing on social?

Social media is important in 2020 and beyond. Having a strong social presence can make or break a brand. For this reason, we include an in-depth analysis of the social platforms of your competitors, so you know what you’re up against.

We have produced an inclusive metric which also takes into account online engagement and follower-count. This metric is known as the “owned social score”.

The brand with the largest owned social score is Book Boon. In total, they have an owned social score of almost 6000 which is considerably large given the typical score in this industry. After all, how do you make books interesting on social? They’ve cracked it, accumulating almost 3 million followers across multiple platforms.

However, their social isn’t much to shout about. All the followers are on Facebook but they don’t get a lot of engagement, which tells me they may have bought them…

Looking further down the list, we see Barnes and Nobel in position two with an owned social score of 4798 – the second-best in the industry.

Their socials are a little different in that they actually post very good content and feature users recent/current reads. Their posts get lots of likes and views. They feature real people and don’t try to spam their followers with product-centric content.

It’s safe to say, however, that the book industry could do with some advice in the realm of social.

Nonetheless, if you want to see how the competition are performing on this lucrative marketing channel, get your hands on the free report now.

Which booksellers have the best online reputation?

Want people to see your brand as one they can trust? You’ll need to work on your online reputation!

One way in which you can do this is through online reviews, which can be used as an effective trust signal to both users and Google. With Google’s recent E-A-T algorithm, sending these kinds of signals becomes important.

Because of this importance, we have included a breakdown of how each bookseller is performing in terms of online reviews.

Here are the top 5 brands who are crushing it in terms of online reputation:

  1. worldofbooks.com
  2. biblio.co.uk
  3. books2door.com
  4. foliosociety.com
  5. betterworldbooks.com

Which UK bookstore brands have the fastest page speed?

Page speed is an important element in this age of SEO. You need to be loading pages fast if you want to keep users engaged and Google happy.

If you do so, you’ll be rewarded in better rankings and better profits.

To drive home this importance, we perform a page speed analysis of all your competitors in the book selling space, so you can see who’s the quickest and what you can learn from them.

Here’s what PageSpeed Insights identified as the top 5 fastest book seller brands:

  1. bookboon.com
  2. biggreenbookshop.com
  3. rarebirdsbookclub.com
  4. abebooks.com
  5. jonkers.co.uk

Read more about the importance of page speed here.

Do I have to pay for this report?

No, this report is free. Just like all the other reports we produce. These reports help us to build relationships with brands in specific industries. Feel free to download your free copy with the form above.

I can’t find my brand, have you forgotten it?

Not all brands meet our thresholds when we put these reports together. If your brand is missing from this report, get in touch asap and we can include your brand in a personal report.

If you want to know anything about the report or are curious about how we can create a bespoke SEO strategy for your brand, get in touch today.

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