Maintaining Book Sales in Challenging Times

Welsh Books Council

Maintaining Book Sales in Challenging Times - 22 May 2013

"Taking the current economic situation into consideration, we take pride in the fact that the sales of books from Wales this year are very close to last year’s figures, and a further increase was seen in the sales of Welsh-language books for children," said Elwyn Jones, Chief Executive of the Books Council. He praised the authors and publishers for providing such an excellent choice of books, and the booksellers for offering a first class service to readers.

"Recently, I attended the Fedwen Lyfrau, a Welsh Books Festival held at Felin-fach," added Mr Jones, "and during one session the journalist Lyn Ebenezer noted that he could not remember a better year as regards the selection of titles available. This is a particular accolade for the book trade in Wales, and is reflected in the sales figures through bookshops."

Last summer, the weather was extremely disappointing, and it had a detrimental effect on shows and festivals throughout Wales. This in turn affected book sales, especially within the tourist sector. Fortunately, sales were buoyant over the Christmas period, with a further surge during January, February and March resulting in a very small decrease of 0.6% (£19,000 in a turnover of over £3m net) by the end of the financial year – a very encouraging result, in the light of the current economic climate.

"The effect of the different seasons was particularly apparent last year," added Mr Jones, "and although the summer was disappointing as regards book sales, we were fortunate to have other periods of excellent sales to balance the situation."

A Scheme to Support Independent Booksellers

As part of the Books Council’s plans to support and promote the book trade, a scheme has recently been launched to Support Independent Booksellers, where a shop of the customer’s own choice is paid a commission on the sale of print titles and e-books made through the Gwales website.

Anyone visiting the Gwales website will be able to locate a local bookshop on a map of Wales provided on the site, and readers will be encouraged to support these shops. In addition, customers can nominate an independent bookshop by placing an order on the website, with the shop being in receipt of a commission on every order for a print title or e-book. A further commission payment will be made to the shop if the customer accesses Gwales by means of the shop’s own website.

"The independent booksellers are the backbone of the book trade in Wales," said Phil Davies, Director of Information Services and Promotion at the Books Council, "and by means of this practical scheme we are able to give them our full support. Booksellers provide a valuable service to readers by advising them on the wide selection of books available, and this development is a sign of the growing cooperation seen within the industry."

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