Arts Council England has sounded the alarm bells for literary fiction with a report revealing a collapse in book sales, advances and prices that have prevented authors from supporting themselves by writing on their own. General fiction sales in the UK fell from £ 216million in 2010 to £ 143million last year as the market increasingly shifted towards commercial bestsellers which was a good news for the Arts Council’s Twitter account – @ace_national – trending on Twitter, as readers and writers watched the barrel of cultural Armageddon.
It might only be 10 days left, but the report was enough for author Anna Mazzola to start tearing up Christmas plans:
The report may be ‘disturbing’, but the Literary Consultancy has tried to strike a positive note:
For others, the report only confirms what the authors have known for some time:
But what is behind the alarming drop in the income of literary fiction writers? According to Matt Haig, the failure of literary fiction is due to “an unconscious snobbery which repels many books”, he tweeted. “Books as status symbols. People feel intimidated. Smart books CAN be popular books.
“Snobbery creates a class system of books out of step with the age in which we live”, He concluded.
On the Guardian website, commentator GRANFALL00N had a much simpler answer:
Reginald side blamed wider issues within the industry:
Writer, publisher and former Waterstones buyer Scott Pack was particularly struck by the drop in paperback sales from £ 163m in 2011 to £ 120m the following year, emphasizing that “2011 is the year Waterstones finished 3 for 2”.
According to Felicity Page, the decline is not explained solely by developments in the book market:
While for Lagado, the decline of literary fiction is an inevitable consequence of the modern world:
Maybe Lagado is just too busy playing Candy Crush – or is that just the kind of joke Tom Rayner Fox is talking about?
Maybe I can answer that when I get past level 253 …