Book sales hit 200 million as a new wave of reading fans arises in lockdown

More than 200 million printed books were sold in the UK during 2020. Statista shows that this is the first-time book sales have reached over 200 million since 2012, where it had declined from 300 million in 2011. 


Although many book retailers were shut for prolonged times throughout the year, essential stores were still open and stocked full. And those who wanted to get a book in their hands, still had many online retailers available to buy from, Amazon being the obvious choice.

What’s caused this rise in readership?


With the many lockdowns of last year, it’s no surprise that people stuck at home needed things to do. Things like reading.  Books are a good way to escape the troubles and it’s no wonder fantasy books have been climbing up the recommendation lists.


Another reason that books may be on the rise again is adaptations. Although book adaptations are nothing new, the dystopian era of 2012 to 2015 showed the public just how powerful they could be. In 2019 the Netflix adaptation of Shadow and Bone was announced for release in 2021, giving audiences time to read the books before the show came out. And since then, many more popular works have been announced for adaptation such as The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab getting a movie with Studio eOne and Sara J. Maas’s A Court of Thornes and Roses getting adapted by Hulu, as well as Shadow and Bone being renewed for a second series.


Without fail, TikTok has had its hand in increasing readers over the last year. The app having many subsections to house different communities. Booktok being the area to find book recommendations and reviews when looking for your next read. The ‘booktok’ hashtag having 14 billion views, and that’s before factoring in all the other book related hashtags. When shops did open again, booktok found its way into stores with dedicated “booktok recommended” tables in Waterstones shops across the UK, sharing the top-rated books from the app.

So, books are back in favour. Why does this matter?


Reading as an activity can help people in many ways, like helping people relax and depending on the book, help you sleep. Books are also mentally stimulating and can be used to gain a better understanding of the world around you. 


Will you be picking up a book?

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