Book sales surge as self-isolating readers stock up on ‘bucket list’ novels

From The Guardian:

Book sales have leapt across the country as readers find they have extra time on their hands, with bookshops reporting a significant increase in sales of longer novels and classic fiction.

In the week the UK’s biggest book chain, Waterstones, finally shut its stores after staff complained that they felt at risk from the coronavirus, its online sales were up by 400% week on week. It reported a “significant uplift” on classic – and often timely – titles including Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

Waterstones also reported a boost for lengthy modern novels, headed by the new bestseller Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light, but also including Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and The Secret History, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest and A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Dystopian tales are also selling well, particularly Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

Nielsen BookScan, the UK’s official book sales monitor, also reported nationwide increases in sales for War and Peace, The Lord of the Rings and the first instalment of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.

“Our bestseller is Hilary Mantel – those 900 pages aren’t going to seem daunting any more and it’s doing really well,” said Waterstones’ Bea Carvalho. “And we’ve seen really good sales for the classics – those bucket list books, the ‘I’ve always wanted to read it’ type things such as Infinite Jest.”

Total physical book sales in the UK jumped 6% in the week to Saturday 21 March, according to Nielsen, noting a 212% growth in volume sales for “home learning” titles, a 77% boost for school textbooks and study guides, and a 35% week-on-week boost for paperback fiction, driven by supermarket shoppers. Arts and crafts book sales were also up by 38% week on week.

Adult non-fiction, however, was down by 13%, as readers sought solace in imaginary worlds.

Link to the rest at The Guardian

PG notes this is from the March 25 edition of The Guardian.