Bloomsbury has launched a platform to make it easier to purchase books from its popular categories. The move comes as the publisher reveals a shift in consumer reading choices throughout 2020 and 2021's lockdown periods.
The Bloomsbury Book House will feature on Bloomsbury.com, featuring a selection of titles across 13 categories — Home Schooling, University at Home, Children’s Favourites, Comfort Reading, Catch up on Classics, Social Justice, Baking, Cooking, Nature, Exercise, History, Spirituality and Wellbeing — with a discount on selected titles.
The publisher said it found that cooking and gardening dominated people’s book choices during the first lockdown period (March to July 2020), with titles such as the Dishoom cookbook and The Pocket Book of Garden Experiments by Helen Pilcher among the publisher’s top 15 titles sold.
Last year also saw a surge of interest in social justice, spurred by the Black Lives Matter movement during the summer, with Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race on Bloomsbury’s 2020 bestseller list.
The 2021 lockdown implemented in January is seeing running and careers-focused titles taking centre stage, with titles such as Running in the Midpack by Martin Yelling and Anji Andrews, The Ultimate Trail Running Handbook by Claire Maxted, and A Question of Leadership by Keith Leslie selling well. Escapist fantasy fiction is also high on readers’ lists, with titles such as Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Silver Flames currently number one in many countries.
Both lockdowns also saw an uplift in books on teaching and education as parents pivoted to teaching their children at home, with the National Curriculum Outdoors series for differing age groups among the most popular titles. A recent report from World Book Day supports this finding stating children embraced reading at the beginning of the pandemic, looking online for recommendations and parents read more with their children and encouraged them to read more too.
Bloomsbury further noted that people have been reading more than ever since the outbreak of the pandemic; in January the publishing company announced its first ever profit upgrade with regard to its 2021 financial year end. In addition, Nielsen has estimated that the surge in reading has led a growth in volume of print books sold in the UK during 2020 of 5.2% compared to 2019.
Nigel Newton, c.e.o of Bloomsbury, said: “It’s clear that as people’s lifestyles have changed during the pandemic, so has their media consumption. Books are playing an important role for many right now, and we can see that people’s reading tastes are changing depending on their circumstances. Initially at the outset of the lockdown at home, people found themselves with more time on their hands to cook or take care of the garden, and books helped them to discover new hobbies or reignite long-forgotten ones.
“On the other side of lockdown, books are proving to be invaluable sources of help to assist parents in home schooling or providing an hour or so of escape from the stresses of lockdown. No matter what people’s needs are, books have been there to support them during these difficult times.”