We recruited a panel of people living in Scotland to complete regular surveys about their experiences of reading between March and August 2020. The full report, Reading in Scotland: Reading over lockdown(this will open in a new window) is available to read now.
With bookshops and libraries closed our panel could not browse, borrow or purchase books in the same ways as usual. Whilst some struggled at first, the panel developed new ways of discovering books and overall they read more widely than usual during lockdown.
- 92% told us that before the lockdown they got ideas for reading by browsing libraries and bookshops
- 60% agreed that they enjoyed reading things they would not normally have read during lockdown
- 71% said that something they found in their 'to read' pile was perfect for the time they read it during lockdown
Throughout the project, the panel told us how much they missed browsing in their local bookshop or library and the majority each week were reading something from their 'to read' pile:
- 'Without the library for new-to-me titles I've been scanning my bookshelves and re-reading. Also checking out my husband's shelves'
- 'I am enjoying reading the books I have had on my sheves for some time. I am reading the larger, heavier tomes as I usually carry a book in my handbag and these would have been jolly heavy to carry about!'
- 'Finally getting round to those patient fellas'
With browsing still limited, if you've reached the back of your bookcase or the bottom of your 'to read' pile, there are lots of other ways you can discover new reads:
- Your local bookshop is almost certainly sharing recommendations on their website or social media – take a look to see what's new and what they're championing. Many bookshops have their own online delivery or pick-up services, and Bookshop(this will open in a new window) is a great place to find recommendations from booksellers all over the country
- Ask a friend or colleague for a recommendation! If they're someone you don't usually discuss reading with they may well have a few favourites you've never even heard of
- Panellists attended a wide range of online book events over the lockdown. Check out what's happening for Book Week Scotland this weekend, and keep an eye out for online events in the coming months
Each week our panel shared reading tips for us to pass on to the other panel members. Over the course of the study panellists had lots of ideas for finding new reads:
- 'Attending online events is fantastic as no need to worry about travel or transport and I can hear and see the author and presenters well on screen'
- 'Organise your bookcase! It can be a bit sore on the old back but I rediscovered some old favourites and created a 'to read' pile. I also took some before and after photos, which were immensely satisfying!'
- 'Begin a conversation, text or email with the words 'can you suggest a couple of books?' and let loose a tsunami...'