The Nielsen Book Survey has identified a worrying fall in the number of books that are being bought as gifts. In 2013, the number of books bought as gifts fell by approximately 9 million. This is part of an overall 4% decline in book sales during the period.
Jo Henry, who led the research, expressed concern at “the apparent decrease in the value that consumers are placing on books as gifts”.
There are a number of possible explanations – the growth of the use of e-readers being one that at least indicates a continuing desire to read – but it is nevertheless a worrying trend.
As a believer in the power of the written word, whether it be non-fiction or fiction, to reach people and move them, and thereby perhaps change their world view, I think that it is down to us – the readers – to go out and buy books (preferably Trollopes!) as gifts for our friends, to share our joy in reading and, hopefully, reverse this trend.