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7 in 10 readers ‘buy new books by fellow Scots’

The survey data has been hailed as a boost to Scotland's creative writing industry. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The survey data has been hailed as a boost to Scotland's creative writing industry. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

  • by BRIAN FERGUSON
 

ALMOST seven out of ten people in Scotland are buying new books by home-grown writers, according to a survey, with women more likely to support them.

And it found almost a third of adults in Scotland said they buy at least one new book by a Scottish writer every six months.

The survey was conducted for the Saltire Society, which runs some of the country’s most prestigious literary awards, including the coveted Scottish Book of the Year title.

The findings are a major boost for the publishing industry in Scotland, which is said to be worth more than £340 million to the country’s economy.

There are more than 110 publishers in Scotland, employing around 1,500 people. Some 3,000 separate titles are published every year, around a third of which are fiction books.

The online poll of around 1,000 adults was carried out over three days in June by YouGov.

It found that 18 to 24-year-olds and those aged over 55 were the most likely to buy new books by Scottish writers, with 72 per cent in each age bracket claiming they do so on a regular basis.

At 78 per cent, Glasgow had the highest proportion of people who say they are in the habit of buying new books by Scottish writers.

Almost 68 per cent of Scottish adults claim to be buyers of new books by Scottish writers, while 28 per cent of Scottish adults purchase at least one new book by a Scottish writer every six months.

And 73 per cent of women claim to be buyers of new books by Scottish writers, compared to 63 per cent of men.

The findings have been published while a major new review of the literature sector in Scotland is being carried out. It is expected to explore how writers are able to make a living from their work and what can be done to improve support for new talent.

Jim Tough, executive director of the Saltire Society, said: “There’s a common misconception that Scottish writing is a minority interest and one that’s only likely to appeal to an older demographic.

“There is a growing concern also that the younger generation is turning its back on book-buying in favour of modern screen-based entertainment.

“In fact, this poll shows Scottish writing and the purchase of new books by Scottish writers appeal to Scottish adults of all ages.

“The fact that such a high percentage of Scots claim to buy new books by Scottish writers, even if only occasionally, should be a real source of encouragement for the Scottish publishing industry.”

A spokeswoman for the arts agency Creative Scotland said: ““The landscape of writing and publishing is changing rapidly, worldwide. We are looking to analyse in detail how the sector is navigating this type of change, and the market for Scottish books in general.

“Numerous other factors from the proliferation of book festivals, to the introduction of Amazon into the market have impacted at the promotion and retail end of the supply chain for books; little research has been conducted on the impact, for writers and readers, of these factors for Scotland.”

Jenny Niven, who is responsible for literature and publishing at Creative Scotland, added: “It’s wonderful to see such support for Scottish writing amongst the book buying public.”

 

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