“The book is a refuge”: in bookstores, the surge in sales and the solidarity of customers

After two catastrophic months, the book economy experienced an unexpected rebound with deconfinement. But faced with the uncertainties to come, publishers could bet everything on safe values

Like a Christmas in the middle of summer! Here is the image which returns in the mouth of the booksellers. After two catastrophic months (according to the Bookstore Observatory, between mid-March and mid-May, sales fell by 95% compared to 2019), the book economy experienced an unexpected rebound with deconfinement: + 19.6% from May 11 to July 19 compared to 2019. “An excellent surprise”, rejoices Xavier Moni, president of the Syndicate of the French bookstore.

In fact, many bookstores have recorded impressive increases. “They are often among the smallest,” remarks Xavier Moni. In the eyes of customers, they seem able to guarantee better sanitary conditions. “

“During confinement, we were very present on social networks, which had a positive impact on distance sales, analysis for his part Aurélie Garreau, of the Le Monte-en-l’air bookstore, in Paris. At the reopening, these sales continued, in particular via the P lacedeslibraires.fr site . And as of June 30, we had caught up with our delay with an 80% increase in turnover. And on July 23, we still recorded an increase of 53% compared to 2019. ”

The same goes for Charlotte Desmousseaux from La Vie devant soi, in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique): “One after another, ” she says, “ we sold two in just one month. “

“It was a reunion”

Of course, the context was favorable: not only had the culture lovers been frustrated with reading for two months but, above all, they had hardly any other cultural offer available – impossible to go to the theater or to the concert… From more, big machines like Amazon, in full logistical chaos, took a long time to restart.

Yet the booksellers hope they have witnessed something deeper. “I had never seen that,” says Hélène des Ligneris, from La Machine à Lire, in Bordeaux. We sell a lot of books from the fund, Camus, Russian novelists, sometimes difficult essays. And all this in an atmosphere of benevolence, because it was difficult to get back on the road, there were replenishment problems, and customers accepted longer deadlines with a lot of understanding. For me it has nothing to do with Christmas, where we have an influx for which we are prepared. There, it was a reunion! Behind the masks, we felt the emotion. I think there is something going on with the book, it’s a refuge. People would say to us: “We missed you, it was difficult to live without you!” “

You have 49.65% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only – Continue at Le MONDE : “The book is a refuge”: in bookstores, the surge in sales and the solidarity of customers


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