Print sales of English-language books in Canada for the first six months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020 show an increase of approximately 1.5 million units and C$47 million (about US$38 million), BookNet Canada reported in a market update, citing combined data from BNC SalesData, BNC BiblioShare and its own Canadian Book Consumer survey.
Although sales are still running behind 2019, much of the Covid-19-related losses that occurred at the start of 2020 have been surmounted. Book sales for the first six months of 2021 are about one million units and C$16 million (about US$12.8 million) short of 2019 numbers.
Retailers across Canada were able to begin opening in late spring and/or early summer; as a result, sales in March and April 2021 were well ahead of those in 2020 and 2019, BookNet Canada noted. The juvenile/YA category continues to dominate, accounting for 42% of all print book sales in the Canadian English-language trade market, up from its 41% share for the same period in 2020. Nonfiction is next, with 30%, down slightly from 32% in 2020, while fiction comes in at 27%, up from 26% in 2020.
The subjects/genres with the largest increases year over year are: comics & graphic novels (up 92%, with manga seeing a 145% increase), poetry (up 81%), psychology (up 84%) and YA/fantasy (up 129%). Frontlist sales accounted for 27% of the market in 2021, up from 23% in 2020.
Trinidad & Tobago bookstore chain Nigel R. Khan Bookseller said employees who refuse a Covid-19 vaccine must take a PCR test every two weeks to be able to work, the Sunday Express reported. Owner Nigel Khan said he stands by his company's policy for the 11 branches.
In a memo sent out last Thursday, employees were advised that effective August 2, all members of staff--those who engage with the public as well as back-line staff--are encouraged to become vaccinated or must subject themselves to the test every 14 days. It further stated: "In the event that you contract Covid-19, your sick leave does not extend to cover the virus. This as such shall be treated as no pay absence on your records."
“We are 95% vaccinated. We just have one or two people who refuse to get vaccinated because of the social media comments and fear propagated," Khan said, adding that vaccinated staff members had approached management, expressing concern and discomfort working with unvaccinated colleagues.
"I'm also looking at it from a humanitarian standpoint," he said. "This is a public health emergency. I cannot allow someone to enter the store with a gun, in the same manner I cannot allow an unvaccinated person to pose risk to others. We cannot put lives at risk. That sort of irresponsibility does not fly well with us. Vaccination is for the greater good of everyone."
The Sunday Express noted that another bookstore, R.I.K., which has six locations nationwide and about 75 employees, "indicated it will encourage vaccination, but leave it up to employees to make that choice."
In Australia, seven bookshops within the boundaries of Melbourne have jointly launched Melbourne City Reads, an initiative that "will offer a particular new book by a Victorian author for sale with 25% off the cover price" for the next four months, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The first title to be featured will be the debut novel Small Joys of Real Life by Allee Richards.
The participating stores are Dymocks Melbourne, Hill of Content, Mary Martin Southbank, North Melbourne Books, the Paperback Bookshop, Readings Carlton, and Readings State Library.
"The idea is to boost the shops, attract more people into the city after the end of Melbourne's fifth lockdown, and give a fillip to local writers," the Morning Herald noted, adding "towards the end of each month, the chosen author will feature in an event to be held at the Wheeler Centre, although the first will be in early September as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival." --Robert Gray