So I love spending time in bookshops, book mail is amazing but that can never be replaced by the feeling of walking around a bookshop, and this has been the thing I’ve missed the most over quarantine. Unfortunately the only bookshop I have easy access to is a chain but I still really enjoy just spending a couple of hours walking around and so when shops opened again one of the first things I did was go to my local bookshop and treat myself. It made me feel just a little better and I think a lot of people agree with me.
The first week of September was the best week for book sales since records began, even outdoing the weeks when the Harry Potter books were released. This was so amazing! I’m so pleased to see the book industry be so resilient. Matt Taylor from Chepstow Books said to the Guardian, “We are just into Wales so masks aren’t compulsory but over half are wearing them. Social distancing takes place inside, we ask people to hand sanitizer and we limit browsing time to 15 minutes which can be a struggle. Bookshop customers are, in virtually every circumstance, societal role models.” and I 100% stand by this point.
We can also put this massive success down to Super Thursday when, because of the virus there’s been a delay in books being published and 590 books came out all in one day with another 790 coming out in October. Up 9% in volume and 11% in value. Trade magazine the Bookseller said it was the best first week of September on record, with the books market making £33.6m over the week to 5 September, an increase of 11.1% on the previous seven days.
I think something that’s helped is the big names that have brought out books, Richard Osborn brought out his first novel and even books that have come out in the past couple of months! The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins and Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer, big contenders in the book world. The fact people have a lot of time on their hands helps a lot too!
It’s funny, I was speaking to a work friend like week about if print and book shops were dead but I think this is proof that that’s not at all true. Book lovers have come together at one of the world’s worst times to keep supporting print and bookshops and I really hope this week goes as more and more books come out throughout the year. It’s really important we keep this going though, please go out and support bookshops. And if you’re not comfortable going outside we completely understand, some people don’t feel safe or need to shield, that’s ok. Most independent bookshops are now online, you can order and get amazing books to your front door.
I am unbelievably proud of us and I think this proves that print is still alive and the amazing community book lovers are. We need to support this industry as best as we can, keeping authors, sales assistants, publishers, bookbinders and everyone else in between in a job.
Check out my last blog post here where I talked about The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osmand and maybe consider subscribing to my newsletter on the right.