Print continues to thrive post-lockdown, buoyed by booming children's sales

Print continues to thrive post-lockdown, buoyed by booming children's sales

The print market has continued to perform strongly post-lockdown, with children's seeing particularly buoyant sales.

Although value for the week ending 1st August, at £27.2m, was the first since bookshops began reopening to fall against the same week in 2019 (by 2.3%), across the seven weeks since shops opened their doors, volume is up by 8% year on year and value 12%. Average selling price has been running at Christmas-gift-period levels—still yet to drop below £8.50 per week since bookshops reopened in England on 15th June.

Children's especially is booming, with volume up 16% year on year from the week ending 20th June to 1st August and 14% up in value. This is even despite David Walliams' four-week number one The World's Worst Parents (HarperCollins) shifting nearly 100,000 copies fewer over the same period as The World's Worst Teachers a year ago (although, it was released a week later than its predecessor). Lockdown bestsellers including Walliams' Slime and Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Scholastic) have continued to fly off the shelves since bookshops reopened, as have pandemic-inspired new releases Rob Biddulph's Draw with Rob (HarperCollins) and Eoin Colfer and Polly Dunbar's While We Can't Hug (Faber).

Trade Non-Fiction is also up 10% in volume and 15% up in value over the past seven weeks, with Reni Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race (Bloomsbury) far and away the bestseller, with 114,479 copies sold since mid-June—and given its meoteoric rise through the Top 5,000 in the early part of the month, rising over 500 places to eventually claim the overall top spot, likely many more during the lockdown period. Charlie Mackesy's The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse (Ebury), currently the 2020 bestseller (without lockdown-era sales), also topped 100,000 copies sold in the seven-week period, 10 months on from publication.

With Nielsen reporting that 40% of people were reading more across lockdown, Adult Fiction was likely the category least affected by lockdown. However, open bookshops still helped fiction jump 2.3% in volume and 4.5% in value against the same period in 2019, with Bernardine Evaristo's Booker winner Girl, Woman, Other (Penguin) shifting a whisker over 100,000 copies across the seven weeks since bookshops reopened.