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Are book lovers financially astute?

26 May 2008

'The booksellers I spoke to were an interesting group. They were confident enough to have left the bunkers of their bookshops for a foray into the informative and often bewildering world of this publishing extravaganza. The fact that they were in the big smoke suggests that they are open-minded and keen to read the zeitgeist. Also, they run businesses that allow them the time to stroll the aisles of Britain's biggest book bonanza. The majority of them seem to be bucking the trend of economic negativity - and sales are increasing in a retail market that appears to be imploding, if one is to believe Fleet Street.

This is most heartening, and I think I can explain it: book lovers are financially astute. They have appropriate levels of borrowing and have kept their credit cards under control. This is fabulous news for them and us, as they can continue to buy seriously affordable entertainment (books!) for the foreseeable future. Is it so astounding that people who love the written word can control their finances? Or maybe turning the pages of the latest Amis keeps them from other, more financially frightening, activities.'

Polly Jaffe, co-owner of Jaffe & Neal bookshop in Chipping Norton, on the London Book Fair, in the Bookseller