Books provide a safe haven for consumers in crisis

Consumers have had more than their fair share of WTAF moments in the last couple of years, forcing many to dramatically reset their ideas of what is right and what is fair. When politicians lie and lie but get away with it, who doesn’t wonder what kind of society we are creating and what on earth are we to tell the next generation about what and what is not right.

Caught somewhere between ennui and depression, consumers cannot be blamed for falling back on those things they regard as reliable and unchanging. One solid foundation is books, as they provide a predictable and comforting view of history and the wider world that all of us are free to curate to suit our current situation.

This is almost certainly the reason why book shops as well as retailers that carry a lot of books, specifically charity shops, are back in fashion. The most recent evidence comes from Waterstones which has seen its profits rise to £42.1m after tax for the year ending April 2022, up from £2.9m 2020-21.

Another reason is that books are cheap compared to many other forms of entertainment or education, particularly when bought second hand on line or through charity shops, with a further benefit that they are also highly sustainable.

There might also be a case for claiming that books are a perfect antidote to so much social media that is based on pure prejudice supported by no facts at all, whereas a book author has had to go through the rigour of being picked up by a publisher as well as, for non fiction, supported their arguments with facts. Books are the product of reflection rather than instant reaction, and so the bile and hatred characteristic of so much social media has hopefully been filtered out.

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