The future of the novel

Sales of novels in the UK have increased throughout the 21st Century - rising from 51.7m in 2001, to 77.9m in 2010.

Last year, though, the numbers dropped off - slumping to 67.7m.

That can partly be explained by the rise in e-book purchases, which aren't included in Nielsen Bookscan's calculations.

And figures could easily rise again this year. After all, EL James' Fifty Shades Of Grey has just been named the best-selling book in British history, with total sales of 5.3m copies in print and ebook, according to publishers Arrow Books.

That's more than the Highway Code.

Although it might seem that sales are thriving, writers have gathered at the Edinburgh International Book Festival to discuss their concerns about the future of the novel.

Here's my report.

What is the future for the novel?

Will Gompertz, Arts editor Article written by Will Gompertz Will Gompertz Arts editor

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