For the second year in a row, Christmas sales were ‘about the same’ for a majority of booksellers (69%), according to the results of Books+Publishing’s annual post-Christmas survey.
Overall sales results were almost identical to what was recorded for Christmas 2016, with just 19% of booksellers reporting a jump in sales, and 12% reporting a sales drop. The two years of flat sales come after a strong 2015 Christmas selling season, when sales were up for 90% of booksellers.
Books+Publishing received feedback from representatives of over 100 bookshops around Australia for its annual post-Christmas survey. The response from many booksellers matched the careful optimism most booksellers reported prior to Christmas, with a strong final week making up for a weak November and December.
‘While Christmas was similar to the prior year overall for the Dymocks network, we were pleased with that result given a very slow start to December and prevailing headwinds in retail generally,’ said Dymocks head of merchandise and marketing Sophie Higgins.
Heather Dyer from Fairfield Books in Melbourne summed up the feelings of a number of high-street booksellers who were nervous heading into Christmas. ‘We had a poor 2016 so when December started slowly I feared we were in for a bad Christmas, but I was pleased in the end,’ said Dyer.
Tim White from Melbourne specialist store Books for Cooks said sales were ‘generally up’ but noted that wild weather days in December ‘had a marked effect’ on sales.
Three-quarters of booksellers described Christmas as ‘ok’, with the remaining responses split between ‘good’ (11%), ‘excellent’ (seven percent) and ‘disappointing’ (seven percent).
Publishers can anticipate similar returns to last year, with 95% of booksellers expecting returns to be ‘about the same’. Four percent said returns would be lower and another one percent said they would be higher.
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