Brits spend £2.1 billion on books in 2020 as lockdown reignites passion for reading

April 27, 2021

Rutger Bruining, Founder and CEO of StoryTerrace, discusses how lockdown has sparked a new wave of literary interest.

Lockdown encouraged many of us to turn to literary activities – particularly reading – which led to a huge boom in book sales. New reports show that consumer book sales in the UK rose by 7% to £2.1bn in 2020, with both fiction and nonfiction books enjoying significant growth in sales. 

Although this surge in literary interest was catalysed by lockdown, this has evidently extended beyond the hands of the pandemic, continuing as we begin to return to normality. Bookshops across the nation experienced a significant number of people come through their doors as they reopened this month, with reports showing that 3.7 million books were sold in the first week, a jump by a third overall.

Many of us turned to literary activities during the past year as we spent more time than ever at home, and the spike in book sales paired with our eagerness to return to book shops reflects that we are maintaining our interest in reading despite how restrictions are easing.

However, while reading was a popular lockdown pastime, this also translated into an uptick in writing – whether that be novels, short stories, memoirs, or biographies. Leading national biographer StoryTerrace found that nearly 1 million Brits wrote their own book in 2020, and nearly 5 million want to do so in 2021.

Rutger Bruining, Founder and CEO of StoryTerrace, discusses how lockdown has sparked a new wave of literary interest:

“Lockdown has been a really tough time for the nation, and it is really pleasing to see so many people safely return to the activities we have been unable to engage with for so long. Although the nation are of course keen to return to hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants, it was pleasing to see so many also browsing books shops as they finally reopened. Literary pastimes such as reading and writing have taken a more permanent place in our lives, with millions of people across the nation planning to continue them post-lockdown. 

During 2020, we saw a dramatic increase in the number of people discovering the benefits of literary activities – especially biography writing. Writing your life story or penning memoirs yields a whole host of mental health benefits which has been particularly important during the pandemic. I hope that people continue to engage with the literary world as begin to return to normality over the coming weeks, especially in light of the wellbeing benefits they can offer.

At StoryTerrace, we saw so many people who have documented their life story become less isolated during the past year, having been imbued with a renewed desire to maintain and develop their personal relationships with family and friends. I think this is something that will make us appreciate our family and friends even more as we finally say goodbye to a year of isolation.”

About StoryTerrace

StoryTerrace helps people to turn their life story into a book. The company takes care of the whole process – matching clients with one of their 600 professional writers, interviews, photo gathering, editing, design and printing. Books are on average 100 pages long, meaning that everyone can have their life story – or the life stories of their loved ones – documented in a professionally curated autobiography, biography, or series of memoirs.

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