Good news, bad news.


If we believe the tv news, then sales figures suggest the UK was stockpiling novels last week as people prepared for a spell in isolation.
Unhappily, chains like Waterstones are deemed non-essential and have closed too but it does mean that those who sell e-format books may do well. Sales of fiction rose by a third, children's education went up an astonishing 234% - a record figure. Puzzle books, handicrafts and true crime also rose. 
Nielsen Book are keeping track: "We've seen significant jumps in sales of puzzle books, adult colouring titles, home-learning titles for children, study guides, and we have seen been a big increase in sales of paperback novels."
Waterstones may be closed, but supermarkets are still open, and they sell paperbacks. So do Amazon. Physical book sales may now plummet as readers turn online. Waterstones online sales have risen 400% week on week.
It reported a "significant uplift" for classic titles like Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, Toni Morrison's Beloved, F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar.

"Our bestseller is Hilary Mantel – there is plenty of time now to read those 900 pages of The Mirror and the Light. It's doing really well," said Waterstones fiction buyer Bea Carvalho.

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