Demand for books in South Korea has increased significantly across multiple platforms despite the constraints of the year-long Covid-19 pandemic, the Korea Times reported. According to Kyobo Book Centre, the largest bookstore chain in the country, sales from the period between January 1 and December 6 last year increased by 7.3% compared to the previous year. Sales at online bookstore YES24 jumped 23% from January to November, and Millie's Library, an e-book subscription service, said the number of its users had doubled since the beginning of last year. Audiobook platform Welaaa also reported a dramatic increase in users.
"Such change in the demand for books is seen primarily as part of a general trend of people's interest in developing hobbies that do not conflict with coronavirus restrictions while they stay at home and telecommute," the Korea Times noted. "Moreover, as students took part in online classes, parents saw the increasing need to fill a learning gap for their children by purchasing education-related books and other essential reading for classes."
|At the American Book Center, Amsterdam
In yesterday's edition of Shelf Awareness, we highlighted a number of indie bookstores in the U.S. that were thanking customers for the support they received in a tumultuous year. These expressions of bookseller gratitude and best wishes for 2021 were on display internationally, too. Here's a sampling:
The Bookshop, New Delhi, India: "As we shut our bookshop tonight for the last time this year, we just want to say a heartfelt thank you to all of you one last time. Thank you to everyone who's found us during this pandemic, thank you to everyone who's befriended us, and asked after our well being.... Happy new year to you all, may 2021 be kinder to everyone than this year was. We promise to be here for you as well, as your favorite book best friends."
Boekhandel Van Piere, Eindhoven, Netherlands: "On behalf of the entire bookstore we want to thank you for this year. It was an eventful year with lots of peaks and valleys. All in all we managed to make something really beautiful together. For that we want to thank you. See you in 2021!"
Libreria Ghibellina, Pisa, Italy: "We end a year for many aspects to forget, as for everyone, but for others, especially thanks to the readers and the readers who supported us. Difficulties appreciate the affection and closeness more and in this respect for Ghibellina it will be a difficult year to forget. Let's hope to find ourselves in a more beautiful, serene and happier 2021 for everyone."
Bookends Keswick, England: "We would like to wish all of our fantastic customers old and new a happy New Year. Particularly during 2020, we have really felt your support. Though we have had to close our doors on some occasions, we have been overwhelmed by the amount of you wishing to support their local indie bookseller by placing orders and returning to our shop after lockdown.... We look forward to seeing you all again in 2021. Happy reading! P.S. Extended thanks to all the posties, delivery drivers and especially Andrew and the team at Keswick Post Office who help us get our books to you. You all deserve a huge drink."
Matilda Bookshop, Stirling, Australia: "Very much looking forward to chatting to everyone about books in 2021. We're excited about the year ahead with soooo many books being published we are super keen to read."
Kent Bookstore, Lindsay, Ont., Canada: "Good riddance to 2020, what a tough year for everyone. Happy 2021! Cheers to a happy and healthy new year (full of lots of good books)! Please stay safe and healthy."
Politeia Bookstore, Athens, Greece: "Happy new year with health, strength, lots of love, lots of good books! May we all be well!"
Wardini Books, Havelock North, New Zealand: "We're just about there! It's a very, very, very marvelous Christmas that we wish you and here's to a completely fabulous 2021 in the best region of the best country in the world.... Loadsa love everyone and hope you get some quality reading time for Christmas."
Woods in the Books, Singapore: "Thank you for sailing with us in 2020! Our little sampan has travelled some rough seas this year. Through the challenges and upheavals of 2020, we hunkered down to take stock of our essentials and discover the part a small children's bookshop could play in a changed pandemic landscape.... We could never have done 2020 without you, our community of staunch supporters and new customers (hello!) who found us this year in your hunt for exceptional children's books and picture books. With fresh lessons under our belts and hopes in our hearts, we are excited to bring more beautiful reads, excellent programmes and more to you in 2021." --Robert Gray