UK book sales in 2021 highest in a decade

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Book sales continued to climb last year despite lockdowns, with more than 212m print books sold in 2021 – the highest figure of the last decade.

Driven by booming appetites for crime novels, sci-fi, fantasy, romance and personal development titles, sales last year showed an increase of 5% on 2020. The sales were worth £1.82bn – a 3% increase on 2020, and the first year on record that sales have topped £1.8bn.

The figures were released on Tuesday by Nielsen BookScan, which was forced to fill in lockdown data gaps with estimates based on its monthly consumer surveys, which collect data from around 3,000 book buyers each month. Bookshops across the UK were shut for over three months at the start of 2021.

Fiction was up 20% compared with 2019, said Nielsen, propelled by 19% volume growth for the crime and thriller genre, 23% for science fiction and fantasy, and 49% for romance. Chart-topping sales for Richard Osman’s first two novels drove crime’s strong performance: The Thursday Murder Club was the year’s bestselling title, while The Man Who Died Twice was the fourth bestselling title of the year. In non-fiction, the mind, body, spirit category saw the biggest growth, up by 50% to hit a lifetime high of £18.7m.

Read more via The Guardian

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