British sales of e-books are waning, trade figures revealed, suggesting readers were suffering from "screen fatigue".
Britain's publishing industry had a record-breaking year in 2016, with sales of books and journals recording their fastest year-on-year growth in a decade to reach £4.8bil (RM26.99bil), their highest ever level.
But sales of e-books fell 3% to £538mil (RM3.02bil), continuing a trend already observed in 2015.
"There is generally a sense that people are now getting screen tiredness, or fatigue, from so many devices being used, watched or looked at in their week," Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of The Publishers Association trade organisation, told The Guardian newspaper.
Most impacted by the decline were consumer e-books – comprising fiction, non-fiction and children's titles – which dropped 17% year-on-year to £204mil (RM1.14bil).
Despite the drop in e-book sales, digital sales overall still rose by 6% due to sales of audiobooks (up 28%) and academic/professional digital books (up 6%).
Overall, digital sales made up 35% of total revenues.
Meanwhile sales of physical books rose by 8% on the year to £3bil (RM16.85bil), their highest level since 2012 with consumer titles increasing by 9%.
A statement from The Publishers Association argued that "striking front covers" and the "resurgence" of bookshops in town centres were the reasons behind the jump in physical sales.
In any case, it said, "a book is already the ultimate portable device".