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  • Writer's pictureBeth Linton

Lockdown Love of Books

I’ve blogged about Lockdown Lizzies before (women who’ve taken up hobbies worthy of Elizabeth Bennet during the pandemic, such as needle work and harpsicord) and one of the pass times worthy of a Victorian heroine which has boomed in the Coronavirus Pandemic is –drum roll please– novel reading!

As we approach the 9th October, a day set aside to celebrate UK bookshops and encourage readers to shop at their lovely local bookstores, I was pleased to read a BBC article today that reveals that sales of physical books have risen significantly in 2020. A massive bookworm, I was pleased to read that the upwards trend in book sales has continued from the 2020 lockdown into the rocky world of 2021.

In 2020, 202 million paperbacks and hardbacks were sold in the UK and, according to the BBC, this is the first time book sales have exceeded 200 million since 2012. While 2020 has brought hardship, solitude and stress to millions, it has also brought the gift of time – time many people have filled with reading. No doubt, many Lockdown Lonelies have embraced a previously alien activity for escape, or to alleviate boredom. But the pandemic also gave Lockdown Lizzies (who were already avid readers) extra hours in which to indulge their love of books.

Whatever the motivation for reaching for those shelves, book sales have boomed!

It’s not just the Brits that are flipping those pages. This Covid-19 reading pattern is echoed in America, too. The BBC states, “sales hit 751 million last year, the highest figure since 2009.”

As an author, I suspect my question is the shared by many bookshop owners: will the reading habit stick as we venture back into the world and emerge into the ‘new normal’?

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