Media websites grow book sales

Media websites grow book sales

Book wholesaler Bertrams has said book sales through media channels websites for publications like the Guardian and the Telegraph are one of the fastest growing areas of its business, with sales up 12.5% year on year.

Bertrams develops the white label websites for media companies, such as the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Guardian, and the allaboutyou bookshop (part of Hearst magazines UK) are among its customers. Jason Cherrington, Bertram group sales director, said: "We see our media partnerships as a great area to grow in 2013."

Sara Montgomery, head of Guardian books, said book sales through its site were up 32% in 2012 and the company was looking to begin retailing e-books from its website later in 2013. Montgomery said: "We have seen some consistent increases year on year for the past three years now and I would say a lot of that is to do with redesigning our website in 2010. Simply by doing that and creating a much more robust retail offer, we have been able to attract more customers and fulfill orders more quickly."

Reviews of books in the newspaper have a direct impact on book sales through its website, Montgomery said. "We sell a huge amount of non-fiction, about 60% of our sales and that is largely a reflection of the books we review in the paper. A lot of the strong reviews we give tend to be non-fiction and our sales are very review-driven."

The top three bestselling titles through the site last year were The Secret Footballer, a Guardian publication, Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamim (Ebury Press) and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate). Faber Poetry Highlights collection a Guardian Bookshop exclusive was its fourth highest-selling book. Montgomery said the Guardian's book customers" profile reflects that of its readers, with the majority in the over-50 age category, particularly concentrated in the 60­65 age-range. The company is currently talking to e-book aggregators about selling e-books as that fits in well with its "digital first" ethos.

Caroline Buckland, the Telegraph's head of entertainment sales, said that book sales through its website had "held up" over 2012.