Gift Giving of Books in Decline

I recently read an article that reported that fewer people are buying books as gifts. The article focused on the United Kingdom and stated that fewer people buying books as gifts has contributed to an overall 4% decline in books sales in the UK over the past year.

In fact, the Nielson Book Survey of book buying habits showed that the share of books bought as gifts fell from 24% to 22% in 2013. The article reported that this equated to a decrease of nine million books.

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This trend is concerning for publishers and authors. It is not unique to the UK. It has also been seen in the United States.

Traditionally, books have been viewed as good gifts. I still believe they are good gifts. I think that the reason fewer books are being given as gifts is not so much because people don’t see them as good gifts, but more because people read less. Think about it. Which would a young adult like more: an iTunes gift card or a good book?

Reading overall is on the decline. One recent study by the Labor Department found that Americans between the ages of 15 and 19 only spend an average of 4.2 minutes of their weekends and holidays reading for fun. This research also showed that 20 to 24 year olds spend an average of 10.2 minutes reading on weekends, while 55 to 64 year olds spend 26.4 minutes on weekend days reading for pleasure. This study seems to indicate that the average time spent reading goes up with age.

The Christmas season is coming very soon. Now is the time to start planning your marketing campaign for getting people to buy your books as gifts. In your marketing campaign, tell your customers to consider buying your book as a gift. Tell them who would most benefit from your book and encourage them to help others grow in their faith with their gifts. You could even use the statistics above that show that older generations enjoy reading the most and encourage your audience to buy a book as a gift for Grandpa or Grandma.

As authors and publishers, we can help reverse this negative book-giving trend by reminding our customers and potential customers that books still make great gifts. I believe they do, so do you. Now let’s remind our customers.

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