Recession a boon for books?

According to the Telegraph in London, some publishers see opportunity in these dark financial times.

Publishing is not immune to tough times. This week Random House announced 5 per cent redundancies. Agents are shaking their heads over the reduced advances. Paper costs have risen. Books are being delayed from 2009 to 2010 to stretch budgets. Booksellers are cautious about almost anything without a TV tie-in. But publishers aren't, like ITV, dependent on advertisers. And readers are addicts. They will not stop reading to stare at the telly. Indeed, publishing can benefit from recession.

"At staff presentations, if people are looking gloomy," says John Makinson, chief executive of Penguin, "I tell them that the 1930s were the golden age of publishing in Britain. Many major publishing houses started then and Allen Lane, who launched paperbacks for sixpence, vastly expanded the market.

"Book sales correlate well with the market for takeaway pizzas," says Makinson. The idea – born out by industry-wide figures showing a rise in sales since this time last year – is that staying in is the new going out. Paperbacks cost less than a cinema ticket and provide many more hours of amusement.

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