Despite inflation, literature lovers don’t plan to cut down on book purchases.

20 per cent of UK bookstore customers believe that books are excellent value for money. — ETX Studio pic

Wednesday, 12 Oct 2022 6:27 AM MYT

LONDON, Oct 12 — With prices soaring, many consumers are being forced to adjust their budgets. Many say that they are ready to give up certain expenses deemed superfluous, such as outings and leisure activities. But for literature lovers, there is no question of cutting expenses related to their preferred pastime.

Or so suggest the findings of a new report from the Booksellers Association and the Nielsen Institute, shared by The Bookseller. The two organizations surveyed 1,000 UK customers of bookstores across the country to assess the impact inflation is expected to have on their cultural consumption.

They found that most respondents plan to continue buying books, despite the cost of living crisis. The reason? They are good (45 per cent) or even excellent (20 per cent) value for money. Many also mention the fact that books are particularly conducive to escapism and entertainment, or that they make great gifts. Another advantage is that they help improve our mental well-being, like music and other art forms.

These reasons explain why nearly half of respondents say they would consider cutting back on other leisure activities, such as vacations and entertainment, in order to buy more books. But not just anywhere. Eight out of 10 respondents say they will continue to support their local bookstore, even if the cost of living continues to rise.

The only downside is that the report indicates that young people, people with children and those particularly affected by the cost of living crisis expect to reduce their book spending. In this case, up to 30 per cent expect to buy fewer books in the next year.

The end-of-year holiday season will be a crucial period for bookstores. Indeed, this period generally represents 20 per cent of the publishing sector’s annual turnover. And books remain an ideal gift. The majority of British people aged 18 to 44 consider them to be beautiful objects in their own right. It’s not surprising that 90 per cent of respondents who give children gifts for Christmas intend to buy as many or more books in the run-up to the holidays.

These findings come as no surprise to Meryl Halls, managing director of the Booksellers Association. “Books offer excellent value for money. During the 2008 financial crisis, and during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, book sales increased across numerous genres. We very much hope that this will be the case in the challenging coming months, and that customers will choose bookshops for making their purchases,” she said in a statement. — ETX Studio


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