Book sales booming as self-isolating readers searching an escape in fictions

Mike Halewood runs the 150-year-old bookshop Halewood and Sons. (Image by Mike Halewood)

The coronavirus lockdown is driving more people to settle down with a good book.

Although most booksellers have closed their stores, they’ve kept delivering online and phone orders.

Halewood and Sons, the 150-year-old bookstore in Preston, has seen an increase in orders since people were required to stay at home.

Mike Halewood, owner of Halewood and Sons, said: “What people find now is that they got a lot of time on their hands.”

He continued: “They should now have time to cultivate an interest, so they decided to relax and to read a good book.

“Once they get in the way of doing that, I think they will get more out of it and do it more — it’s a good, healthy thing to do.”

Mr Halewood also found popular fictions to be people’s favorites at the moment, as they provide an “escape” from reality.

He took horror stories as an example, saying the reader “enjoyed her own way with the virus and is immersing herself in scary tales”.

The Amazon UK most sold chart echos the observation — thrillers like The Strawberry Thief, The Eyes of Darkness and The Silent Patient are among the top 10.

The Amazon UK most sold book chart. (Credit: Amazon)

As Halewood and Sons is delivering books to readers across the UK and even to other countries including China and the Netherlands, he has also been worrying that private bookstores might have to pause their services one day.

“Nobody, unfortunately, knows how long will this (lockdown) stay,” he said.

Plachitt & Booth Booksellers in Lytham shares the concern.

The owner said: “We’re trying to fulfill whatever orders we can by telephone, but the publishers are starting to close down as well; all of the supply chains are starting to close because of the restrictions.”

Mike Halewood, from Halewood and Sons in Preston, and Dale Oakley, from Book-Cycle Beech Hill in Wigan, talk about reading and book sales during the coronavirus lockdown.