This year marks the seventh anniversary of the original ‘Super Thursday’. It was in 2008 when the editor of The Bookseller, Philip Jones noticed the trend for so many books published on a particular day. That year, 247 new titles were released and the number has increased every year since- 315 books are to be published today. Christmas sales account for nearly 40% of the annual book sales and Super Thursday has become known as the industry’s main protagonist in promoting traditionally published books as it toils with the ever-increasing popularity of the digital variety. It is a day in which the familiar and trusted independent bookshops can gain some momentum in the national press by promoting their unique benefits and of course, increase exposure and in turn, sales.
Supermarkets first started stocking books about 20 years ago and it is widely regarded that these supermarkets have had a negative impact on the health and well-being of our local high streets, affecting various independent retailers from stationers and sweetshops to butchers and of course, bookshops.
Book sales declined roughly 9% from 2012 to 2013 which is somewhat alarming but it pails into insignificance when hearing that the number of independent bookshops have fallen by a third since 2005. Super Thursday however has been gaining some traction and combined with the slowing eBook sales, 2014 has seen a much smaller decline of just 2 per cent.
Some may say that traditional book sales are declining for a reason and that it’s pointless to try and stem the tide, that the increasing sales of eBooks quash any notion of a hardback revival but there is hope… This year has already witnessed incredible sales in the children’s market: up almost 10 per cent so far. This is an encouraging sign and one which succinctly reminds us that there’s a whole new generation experiencing books for the first time. There’ll be another generation doing the same 20 years after that and so this cycle will continue. If nothing is done now to promote books and protect what is left of the industry, these future children may never have the chance to handle a real book in their hands, to draw inspiration from them and experience the magic that we were fortunate enough to receive at their age. Let us do what we can to protect books today, for it would be a very sad state of affairs if there weren’t any to buy tomorrow.