|Social-distanced shopping at Foyles.
Approximately 35% of regular bookshop customers in the U.K. are unsure about returning to bricks-and-mortar premises now that the Covid-19 lockdown has eased, according to a recent Nielsen survey, which also showed that "39% of people still reported consuming books and audiobooks more than before lockdown began, down from 42% during the lockdown period, with just 11% saying they consumed less. That reading increase was driven mainly by women and younger men," the Bookseller reported.
Conducted between June 25 and June 29, the survey of more than 1,000 adults in the U.K. also found that 26% of respondents were buying more books overall--up by 2% on lockdown figures--and 18% buying fewer, with 39% reading books they already owned, particularly older readers, and 19% borrowing from other people.
Nielsen noted that about one in five book buyers and 28% of habitual bookshop users planned to visit a bookshop within four weeks, with nearly half saying they would be back within six months. However, 22% of both book buyers and regular bookshop customers preferred "to wait to see the ongoing effect of Covid-19 before venturing into a bookshop," the Bookseller wrote.
Among regular bookshop customers, 13% did not know when they would go back and 5% said they would not return. For book buyers overall, 17% were unsure, citing browsing and safety concerns as primary barriers, while 13% did not want to go to a bookshop at all.
A Nielsen Book India online survey of 1,084 Indian adults (with a ratio of 60:40 female/male), which was conducted May 14 to June 7, examined the impact of reading and buying behavior on leisure books (excluding academic books) in India. The Hindustan Times reported "two-thirds of book readers say they are consuming more books since lockdown began. Earlier, Indian book readers read books or listened to audiobooks for an average of nine hours per week. Since lockdown this has increased by seven more hours a week."
Survey respondents said the most influential factors for discovering books pre- and post-lockdown are recommendations from friends/relatives, followed by media articles/reviews and general browsing on bookseller websites. "Female readers are more likely than men to seek out recommendations from friends/relatives and to read media articles/reviews. Meanwhile, male readers like to discover books by browsing on bookseller websites and looking at bestseller sections," the Hindustan Times wrote, adding that purchasing online, followed by physical bookstores and then home delivery, were the most preferred options for buying books post-lockdown.
After the lockdown is lifted, 60% respondents said they expected to buy books through physical stores and 70% through an online bookshop, "with the proportion higher than before lockdown in each case, but more so for online than in-store," the Hindustan Times noted, adding that respondents "think they will use home delivery more after lockdown than before."