Sales of printed books in the UK were surprisingly strong in 2020. According to preliminary results from Nielsen BookScan data, unit sales of printed books reached 202 million during the year, 5.2% more than ‘in 2019. The total value of books sold is estimated at £ 1.76 billion, up 5.5% from 2019. Results for value sold are believed to be the highest in the UK in over ‘a decade and the first time the number of printed books sold has exceeded 200 million since 2012, according to The bookstore.
The numbers are particularly strong, considering that bookstores were closed from March 23 to June 15 and again from November 5 to December 2. The best-selling book overall was The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse by Charlie Mackesy.
Stephen Lotinga, Managing Director of the UK Publishers Association, said: “It is encouraging to see print sales increased over the past year, despite the significant challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. Books are a vital source of entertainment, comfort, and education, and these things have been particularly needed recently. The increase in print sales is also a testament to the brilliant books that publishers have published over the past year. It is this expertise and creativity that will ensure the continued success of the industry during these difficult times. “
Ireland also recorded its strongest printed book sales in more than a decade with 13.1 million units sold and a value of 161.4 million euros, up 7.8% respectively and 9.5% from 2019. The best-selling book in terms of units sold was Delia Owen’s novel. Where the crayfish sing, while the photography book Old Ireland in color by Sarah-Anne Buckley is the top-grossing book.