Book sales remained “tough” in September according to the British Retail Consortium, which reported total retail sales were up by 2.5% against September last year.
The BRC said UK retail sales values were 0.3% higher on a like-for-like basis from September 2010, when sales had risen 0.5%. On a total basis, though, sales were up 2.5%, against a 2.2% increase in September 2010.
The BRC said: “Book sales remained very tough and fell further below their year-earlier level. The shift from print to e-books has hit paperback fiction most. David Nicholls’ One Day remained a top seller, joined by Jeffrey Archer’s Only Time Will Tell.” Last week, The Bookseller reported printed book sales in September rose by 10% on August, but were down 10% on last year according to Nielsen BookScan data. In total, £118.4m was spent on physical books in the four weeks to 1st October, an increase of £11m on August, but a decline of £14m on September 2010.
Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said: "In these harsh times, we have to be thankful for this minor improvement in growth compared with August but underlying conditions remain weak. Spending growth is below inflation meaning customers are buying less than this time last year. And there's no guarantee next month’s figure will be better. Total sales growth has been flipping between 1.5 and 2.5% for four months now and year-to-date like-for-like growth is zero.
“Short-lived factors such as the weather and discounting are influencing sales not any fundamental change in how customers are feeling . . . As we head into the year's most important trading period, we need a return of optimism. That requires people to feel that next year they will see some payback for the current pain."