Bookshops should be among the first retailers to re-open, says Stephen Page

Bookshops should be among the first retailers to re-open, says Stephen Page

Stephen Page has said the pandemic is presenting a "very challenging time for businesses", and that bookshops should be among the first retailers to open when the lockdown eases.

Speaking on BBC 4's "Today" programme earlier today (April 24th), the Faber c.e.o said the closure of the high street had had a "profound" effect on publishing, and that it is "central to culture" that "bookshops are part of the first wave of loosening restrictions".

He added that the closure of shops had severely impacted print sales, with the industry as a whole experiencing a drop of between 60% and 70%.

"The interesting thing about publishing is that we have developed a rich ecology around online shops, bricks and mortar shops and print and digital," he said. "People maybe surprised to know that digital listening [...] and online reading make up quite substantially less than half the business."

Page urged that bookshops be among the first retailers to "responsibly" re-open. "Art and culture is central to our understanding of what is going on right now," he said.

Closed shops have meant Faber has delayed book launches until the autumn, and in some cases until 2021, he confirmed.

However, despite the overall drop in books sales in the UK, Faber has seen a rise in poetry, "entertainment" titles, and books by "best-known writers".

In Italy and Germany, bookshops have been among the first retailers to re-open.