The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) unveils today that bookshops can be linked to an estimated £1.9bn contribution to UK GDP annually and to the support of 46,000 jobs, as part of a report evaluating the contributions made by the UK’s bookselling sector.
The report – Bookselling Britain: the economic contributions to – and impacts on – the economy of the UK’s bookselling sector – is published today, and reveals that UK bookshops currently provide:
Direct impacts of:
- £540 million in GVA (gross value added) contribution to GDP
- £416 million in wages, salaries and other staff costs
- 24,400 bookselling jobs
- £131 million in tax (including £12m in corporation tax, equating to 91p per £100 of turnover)
…and an aggregate economic ‘footprint’ through the supply chain and wider economy:
- £3.8bn in turnover
- £1.9bn in GVA contribution to GDP
- £1.2 billion in staff pay
- 46,000 jobs (including the 24,400 bookselling jobs)
- For every 10 jobs in bookselling, a further 9 jobs are supported in publishing and the wider supply chain
But ‘standard’ measures like contribution to GDP or employment fail to capture the valuable, and potentially underestimated, role of bookshops as cultural hubs or venues for people that want to engage with the literature art form and interact with others about it. For instance, Waterstones alone has hosted over 5,000 events in 2017 to date.
These wider spillover impacts of bookshops can include:
- providing a physical interface that can trigger different and unpredictable exploration of themes and topics beyond what was intended when entering a shop, unlike online algorithms that search for related topics by association
- providing an environment conducive to interactive involvement that encourages reading for pleasure, especially among children
- being better placed to promote UK authors, thereby boosting UK cultural exports and hence UK GDP
- supporting wider high street activity, preventing urban decay, increasing or maintaining property values, and providing footfall for neighbouring businesses
The report highlights the numerous factors that were identified through depth interviews with booksellers as putting a strain on the financial sustainability of the bookselling sector in the UK, including the business rates, corporate tax, and rising overheads. This, in turn, threatens their ability to deliver their contributions GDP and employment, but also to deliver the aforementioned wider spillover impacts and several more outlined in the report.