Book sales skyrocketed in 2021, but Dutch storeowners are struggling

Last year, Dutchies bought 43 million books — apparently the highest it’s been in 10 years! Internet sales increased a lot, but the Collective Promotion for the Dutch Book says that physical bookstores were struggling.

Lockdown and mandatory closure of non-essential shops in the first few months of 2021 and right before Christmas had a big impact on sales from local shops.

Despite calls to “buy locally” to support local entrepreneurs, the number of books sold fell by 7%, reports the NOS.

E-books and reading for kids

Despite more internet book purchases, e-book sales actually decreased (there’s something about paper that’s just nicer to read from). So while bookstores sold 3.1 million e-books, they made more money after the prices of e-books increased.

And, just like 2020, children’s books sales grew the fastest of all genres. Many parents rediscovered the importance of reading, especially for children.

Competition with online sellers

Monique van den Kerkhof started a bookshop in Heerlen in 2019. She had quite a few worries, especially with making a profit, but many people were willing to support a local business through their deliveries. 🙌

READ MORE | These are the 8 best international bookstores in the Netherlands

Despite success stories like Monique’s and although the Netherlands has recently reopened again, many booksellers are wondering if they can compete with online sellers if we return to another lockdown.

Where do you prefer to buy your books? Share your recommendations in the comments!

Feature Image: Foto-VDW/Depositphotos

Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Third culture kid Katrien is a Philippine native who’s been living in the Netherlands since she was a tween. One identity crisis and two university degrees later, she is here to stay for her passion in writing and journalism. Other than organising her life on Notion and the sticky notes app, Katrien is found nose-deep in a good book, button-mashing on her Nintendo Switch, or practicing scales on her flute.


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