Playing the crystal ball game

<p>The New Year begins much as the old ended, with a blizzard of cut-price offers. Sale banners on the high street scream that even half-price books are too expensive; Asda responds by flogging Alan Bennett's Untold Stories for &#163;5.</p><p>Despite the traditional last-minute Christmas reprieve, all the signs point to a tough year ahead for bricks-and-mortar bookselling. Rising local and national taxes, rail fares and energy bills will squeeze wallets. A World Cup and no new Harry Potter will not help those summer like-for-likes one bit.</p><p>However, Da Vinci Code sales will flow thanks...

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