INDEPENDENT bookshops are hopeful the spike in book sales during lockdown will continue.

Sales of physical books rose dramatically in 2020, with more than 2020 million paperbacks and hardbacks sold in the UK in 2020, according to industry figures.

It was the first time sales had passed the 200 million mark since 2012.

Independent bookshops owners in Brighton and Hove say they hope schemes like UK Bookshop Day will help the upward sales trend continue post-lockdown.

Paul Sweetman, owner of City Books in Western Road, Hove, said his shop has seen strong growth over the last year, particularly in hardback sales.

The Argus: City Books in Western Road, HoveCity Books in Western Road, Hove

“Lockdown gave people the time to read more - with many people opting to read large tomes, such as War and Peace,” he said. “

“Going online has meant that we are now selling books to customers from all parts of the country.”

Paul said while children’s books continue to sell in high volumes, there has also been recent interest in the works of Abdulrazak Gurnah, who was recently awarded the Nobel prize for literature.

Paul added: “Every day is Bookshop Day here at City Books.”

UK Bookshop Day, which is held on October 9, encourages readers to shop in their local bookshop.

The number of physical independent bookshops in the UK rose to 967 last year, according to trade body the Booksellers Association.

An increase of 50 over 2019, it took the total to the highest level since 2013.

Vanessa Lewis, co-owner of The Book Nook in First Avenue, Hove, said the children’s book market is always “robust”, but said the shop had experienced rapid growth in sales throughout lockdown.

“There was a real demand for books during lockdown and we spent many hours supporting the community by delivering and dropping off books,” she said.

“Our website has had rapid growth and we now ship books all over the country and beyond.”

Vanessa added: “Bookshop day is the perfect opportunity to show your love for your local bookshop, it is a celebration of bookshops up and down the country who are often at the heart of a local community.”