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Oxfam bookshops report boost in sales as they prepare for Christmas shopping season

22nd Nov 2013

Oxfam's celebrity supporters celebrate the bookshops' success by revealing which book they would choose as their 'Christmas gift to the nation'


Oxfam bookshop managers should be braced for a Christmas rush if current sales figures for the charity's bookshops are anything to go by. New figures for the first six months of the financial year 2013-14 (April - September) show that Oxfam bookshop sales grew by 4.1% compared to the same period last year. And once figures for non-book items are stripped out, sales of books in the bookshops show an even bigger rise of 5.9% on the previous year.


Oxfam's Trading Director Andrew Horton said: 'It's great to see our bookshops doing so well, especially in what continues to be a tough retail climate."


Oxfam has 119 bookshops across the country, selling everything from current fiction to collectables and first editions. This breadth of range, coupled with the expertise of the bookshop managers and volunteers, makes them a popular Christmas shopping destination. Last year December book sales across all of Oxfam's shops topped £1.5 million, with almost £500,000 of these sales made in the week before Christmas.


To help inspire Christmas shoppers as they head to the Oxfam bookshops this festive season, the charity has asked some of its celebrity supporters which book they would choose as their Christmas 'gift to the nation'.


Alan Titchmarsh and actor Sir David Jason both chose Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows. Sir David called it a 'wonderful book; and said that it: "appeals to all ages and portrays many human characteristics through all the different animals found in our countryside and riverbanks."


Stephen Fry chose Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse, admitting: "I'll let everyone else nominate the great works of literature, but this is simply to make Britain happy."


Book lovers Judy Finnigan and Richard Madeley chose Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, and The Cruel Sea, by Nicholas Monsarrat, respectively.


And actress Julie Walters selected Hilary Mantel's Booker Prize winning Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, describing the books as: "teeming with characters, texture, suspense; packed with historical fact yet startlingly modern; and big and brave."


Andrew Horton, said: "Oxfam bookshops have a unique offering on the high street, and are a great place to shop in at Christmas for a really personalised gift for that hard-to-buy-for person. Whether rare, collectable or modern paperbacks, our books represent great value for money, and shoppers know that each time they buy a book they are helping Oxfam in our fight against global poverty."





For more information contact Leona Everitt in the Oxfam Press Office on: 01865 472237 /

Notes to editors:

Oxfam is a global humanitarian, development and campaigning organisation working with others to overcome poverty and suffering - all of Oxfam's programmes have gender equality at their core.  Oxfam is now working in nearly 60 countries on a diverse range of projects, from providing emergency water sources to supporting community health projects.


Full list of celebrity choices for the book they would choose as their 'Christmas gift to the nation':


Stephen Fry: Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse "I'll let everyone else nominate the great works of literature, but this is simply to make Britain happy."


Dawn O'Porter: I'd gift The Booby Trap and Other Bits and Boobs, to the world. It's a collection of stories, poems, articles by well know people about boobs, and £1 from every copy goes to breast cancer charities. I edited it so it's very close to my heart. And I recently received an email from a lady who read it, followed the instructions on how to check her breasts and found a lump. The book literally saved her life. This book should be on everyone's shelf. 


Alan Titchmarsh The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.  A wonderful story, it opens children's eyes to the wonders of nature, reflects the different aspects of human (and animal) nature and is a heartwarming story in itself.


Judy Finnigan: Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, the perfect novel. Orphan girl cruelly treated; sent away to ghastly school; nevertheless becomes a teacher and governess to wealthy Mr Rochester's ward; they fall in love,  go to the altar, but wedding scuppered when it's revealed he's already married (to mad woman in his attic). Jane flees, mad wife sets fire to house and perishes, Rochester blinded, Jane hears him calling her name (supernaturally) and returns. Reader: she marries him.


Richard Madeley: The Cruel Sea, by Nicholas Monsarrat.The best novel about war ever written.  By turns tender, brutal, uplifting and horrifying, it tells the terrible story of the Battle of the Atlantic in WW2.  Monsaratt's writing is breathtakingly accomplished. A best-seller and timeless classic, it is also, quite simply, a masterpiece.


David Jason: The book that I would most like to 'gift to the nation' is "Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame.  It appeals to all ages and portrays many human characteristics through all the different animals found in our countryside and riverbanks.  It is personal to me as I was able to voice the character of Toad in one of the many adaptations of this wonderful book.  It was such fun bringing him to life and so I have fond memories of Toad and all his friends.


David Mitchell: 'I would gift THE SWORD IN THE STONE by TH White to the nation, if it was in my power to do so, which it isn't. Far, far better than its Disney rendition, it's a wise, warm, wistful book about King Arthur's childhood with a great Christmas hunt scene.  I like to read it now and then to check in with the kid who I was when I read it, and my more recent re-reading selves, too. I just wikipedied and discovered that JK Rowling and Neil Gaiman also admire TH White, so if you enjoy it you'll be in the finest company.'


Miquita Oliver: "The Rachel papers by Martin Amis. When reading for the first time I felt I had stumbled upon an old friend which is I believe how a good read should always feel. That and my totally inappropriate life long crush on Martin Amis." 


Julie Walters: Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies as one book: teeming with characters, texture, suspense; packed with historical fact yet startlingly modern; and big and brave ...... just like the nation!


Laura Dockrill: A Little Princess because it is a book suitable for everybody, it explores love, loss and identity in a beautiful way. It is also really fun, over the top, eccentric and I love the drama. The main character Sara Crewe is a perfect heroine and enjoys reading and telling stories.