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Reading in lockdown is popular according to Reading Agency survey for World Book Night

Increase in book sales and e-lending from libraries

LOCKDOWN is no barrier to reading and World Book Night, the annual celebration of all things books, is encouraging everyone to join in Reading Hour from 7pm to 8pm tonight.

You can read alone, aloud to others or call friends and swap book recommendations.

World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency, a national charity that tackles life’s big challenges through the power of reading.

A survey commissioned by the agency and released today shows we are reading more in lockdown, with one in three adults turning to books.

More than 2,000 people in the UK took part in the survey, which found that 31 per cent of us have been reading more since lockdown began. There has been a “particular spike” of 45 per cent among young people aged between 18 and 24.

Book sales have also jumped in the UK, with a 35 per cent boost week on week for paperback fiction, although sales in nonfiction have fallen slightly, suggesting people are looking for some escapism.

Emma Milne-White, who runs The Hungerford Bookshop, agrees. She said: "People have the time now to read long books.

"They may have baulked at the length Hilary Mantel's latest before lockdown, but now they are not so daunted!

"Fiction is doing really well generally - uplifting literature in particular."

Hungerford Bookshop is open for orders - though Emma warns it takes longer than usual at the momen.

For local readers doorstop deliveries are offered for free. Visit www.hungerfordbookshop.co.uk or call (01488) 683480 for queries or requests.

Libraries have also experience a boom in registration, with Hampshire county council reporting a 770 per cent increase in new digital users.

West Berkshire Libraries have reported a 127.39 per cent increase since March 21, when the libraries shut. They have loaned almost 90,000 e-books, e-audiobooks, e-magazines and e-newspapers.

The library service has set up a new Facebook book group - West Berks Read - where you can post recommendations and get ideas from others. For more details about this and future library activities, follow WBerksLibraries on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Customers who are not already a member of the library, can join online giving you free, instant access to the e-library. For details visit www.westberks.gov.uk/libraries.

If you are already a member and have forgotten your library PIN this can also be reset on the library catalogue online www.westberks.gov.uk/libcat

Visit the World Book Night website www.worldbooknight.org for book suggestions.

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