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healthy despite eBooks and online buying

Time for the annual Swedish booksale

Published tisdag 26 februari 2013 kl 16.34
The annual book sale at a booktore in Visby on Gotland, Photo: Patrik Widegren

The annual booksale is alive and well in Sweden, despite the encroachment of e-books and online buying.

Once upon a time there were long lines outside stores awaiting the opening of the annual booksale. That’s no longer the case, but there still are faithful enthusiasts. One of them, in downtown Stockholm, was Linn Vidalve.

"It’s a little more cozy now," she tells us. "They open early and it isn’t crowded. It feels special to be able to go around and browse, to feel the books. That’s what makes it different from buying online."

Peter Hojem was another early booksale customer:

"I work next door," he says, "and I checked the sale catalog first. But when I came in I saw more books that weren’t in the catalog that I bought too. So I’m going home with more books that I planned."

The annual booksale dates back to the 20’s, and soon became a tradition where all the shops take part. And it continues to evolve. Last year was the first year e-books were included in the sale. But Anna Möller Wrangel, president of the Swedish Booksellers’ Association, says the brick and mortar stores have to get better at showing off their advantages:

"We’re good at information and recommendations," she tells us. "We can help people find their favorite authors, and maybe find books they didn’t know existed or that they wanted."

So what are the big sellers this year? Henrik Lundin, the assistant manager at the Akademibokhandeln in downtown Stockholm, says it's fiction, childen's books and biographies.

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