News

December retail sales up 4.1%

Print book sales have “remained tough”, hit by consumer caution and growing e-book sales, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said, but overall retail revenues were up by 4.1% in December.

The increase compares favourably to last year’s 1.5% increase in December 2010, when shoppers were hampered by heavy snow and it was the best sales performance since January 2011, the BRC said today (10th January).

Paperback fiction remained the hardest hit of printed books genres the BRC said, with celebrity cookbooks and biographies popular and Jamie’s Great Britain becoming a top seller.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said the December retail sales hike was down to a “dazzling last pre-Christmas week” and warned it did not reflect a fundamental change in customers’ circumstances.

He said: “A solid December result hasn't rescued a pretty miserable year. Whole-year figures show minimal growth in 2011. For many customers, economic reality has bitten again since the New Year and, with consumer confidence returning to levels last seen during the recession, 2012 is expected to be an equally challenging year." 

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In December the Guardian was commenting on the decline of the celebrity memoir, which contrasts with the comments here,

“....the BRC said, with celebrity cookbooks and biographies popular and Jamie’s Great Britain becoming a top seller.”

I am aware that crowds have turned up at bookshops for Lee Evans - Life of Lee, James Cordon - May I Have Your Attention, Please and John Challis - Being Boycie.

Perhaps the conclusion is that the great British public continue to have a soft spot for people who make them laugh, but have declining interest in celebrities who are famous for being famous?

It depends how sales go throughout the year too. Books bought as gifts are often not even read. I don't think December is a good indication of reading trends for the longer term. Once December is over we can see what people really want to buy for themselves and read.

I'm surprised celebrity chefs and celebrity memoirs sell well, and there are mixed messages with other articles saying sales are down in these genres. It's so easy to get recipes off the internet that it's hard to understand why people would buy many cookery books. Surely they will stop selling in the same way dictionaries and other reference books have now that we use the internet for these things. We also get celebrity gossip so easily off the internet so I do think sales will fall in the long term in these categories.

perhaps the change in Waterstones shop front logo will reverse the downward trend and all will be well again in 2012.

I think the shopfront logo is just part of changes planned at Waterstones. I go round high street shops repping our books and can already tell there are more plans on the way. You have to get the basics right, including the brand, before moving on to work on the public perception of your brand.

In December the Guardian was commenting on the decline of the celebrity memoir, which contrasts with the comments here,

“....the BRC said, with celebrity cookbooks and biographies popular and Jamie’s Great Britain becoming a top seller.”

I am aware that crowds have turned up at bookshops for Lee Evans - Life of Lee, James Cordon - May I Have Your Attention, Please and John Challis - Being Boycie.

Perhaps the conclusion is that the great British public continue to have a soft spot for people who make them laugh, but have declining interest in celebrities who are famous for being famous?

It depends how sales go throughout the year too. Books bought as gifts are often not even read. I don't think December is a good indication of reading trends for the longer term. Once December is over we can see what people really want to buy for themselves and read.

I'm surprised celebrity chefs and celebrity memoirs sell well, and there are mixed messages with other articles saying sales are down in these genres. It's so easy to get recipes off the internet that it's hard to understand why people would buy many cookery books. Surely they will stop selling in the same way dictionaries and other reference books have now that we use the internet for these things. We also get celebrity gossip so easily off the internet so I do think sales will fall in the long term in these categories.

perhaps the change in Waterstones shop front logo will reverse the downward trend and all will be well again in 2012.

I think the shopfront logo is just part of changes planned at Waterstones. I go round high street shops repping our books and can already tell there are more plans on the way. You have to get the basics right, including the brand, before moving on to work on the public perception of your brand.