SPALDING has been named one of the ten best read towns in Britain.
Spalding is placed tenth by Amazon UK on the annual list of towns and cities where it’s sold most printed books, Kindle downloads, magazines and newspapers per head.
This is no flash in the pan, as last year Spalding came 13th in the online retailer’s first list based on numbers of orders per head in places with more than 20,000 population.
Independent bookseller Christine Hanson of Bookmark, Spalding was delighted and not surprised by the accolade for her home town from a major competitor.
She said: “When I opened this big bookstore 14 years ago people were waiting for it to fail as it’s really very big for a small market town – but we’re still here!
“I’ve always said that Spalding people are particularly well educated. They love history, biographies, fiction and children’s books.
“Sadly from a peak in 2003-4 when the third Harry Potter book and the Lord of the Rings films came out and books were getting so much media attention, our sales of books have been eroded by the Internet and e-book and Kindle sales so we’re now selling half the number we were then.
“But Spalding people are reading as much as ever, and I’m still confident there’s room for paper books alongside e-books.
“It’s brilliant that our town has scored so high, something to be very proud of!”
Towns on the latest Amazon UK list in descending order are: Huntingdon, Cambridge, Sevenoaks, Doncaster, Rochester, Salisbury, Truro, Chichester, Bury St Edmunds, Spalding,Canterbury, Newton Abbot, Winchester, Godalming, Witney, Warwick, Durham, Dunfermline, Newbury and Chorley.
Spalding comes even higher in Amazon sales when Kindle downloads are isolated from the rest. The town come fifth nationally for the most downloads per head.
Jonathan Platt, head of libraries and heritage, said: “We have seen a continued rise in e-book issues from libraries.
“In May 2011 we issued 366 e-books , in May 2012 it was more than 1,500.
“There are now over 3,000 titles available to borrow free of charge from the county council’s ‘virtual library’.”