Annual book sale starts today - fill your boots!

On Tuesday, February 21, Sweden's famous annual book sale starts in Skellefteå. Everything is on sale, from classic children's books to detective stories, doorstep novels and cookbooks.

Anneli Lundqvist, store manager of Akademibokhandeln in Skellefteå, is excited about the start of the book sale.

Anneli Lundqvist, store manager of Akademibokhandeln in Skellefteå, is excited about the start of the book sale.

Foto: Ingela Lekfalk

Skellefteå2023-02-21 09:48

Inside the Akademibokhandeln in Skellefteå, the staff are working hard. Everyone is sweating. In just a couple of days, they have unpacked and filled the store with approximately five tons of books. Now the shelves are overflowing with titles from all over the world, the sale price tags are printed and the staff are freshly showered. This year's book sale 2023 opens at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

– We are up and running, happy and prepared, says Anneli Lundqvist, store manager of Akademibokhandeln Skellefteå.

Ann-Charlotte Carlsson, Anneli Lundqvist och Lovina Johansson har under den senaste veckan burit ungefär fem ton böcker

This huge annual book sale takes over the country. It's not as crazy as the Black Friday sales, but people who love books are very excited about it. They queue for the shops to open, sometimes even from midnight, so they can get the best deals on offer. The sale lasts for two to three weeks, and by the end, there are only a few books left.

The sale is called "bokrea" and it started in the 1920s when bookshops wanted to sell their surplus books. Now it's a huge event across the country, and the Swedish Booksellers Association created rules and regulations to make sure no shop has an unfair advantage.

This 'book mania' is indicative of how much Swedes love books. In a country of around ten million people, the literacy rate hovers at around 98%, roughly 50 million library books are borrowed annually,  more than 400 bookshops sell more than 40 million books each year, and more than 80% of Swedes say they have read at least one book in the past 12 months.

Which books do you sell the most during the book sale?

–  Children's books always sell well. People take the opportunity to shop when there is a sale. But then we also see that cookery and craft books do really well.

How about fiction?

–  We will have bargain prices for Annie Ernaux, the Nobel laureate in literature in 2022. We think Camilla Läckberg's new detective story "Gökungen" will also attract buyers. Then we have a real cut with Lars Kepler's new book "The Spider", which was released last autumn. It hasn't come out in paperback yet.

How big is the price reduction?

–  Kepler, for example, actually costs 269 kronor. Now during the book sale it is reduced to 99 kronor, then we are down to paperback prices. You can find a children's book that normally costs around 150 kronor for between SEK kronor and 29 kronor.

- Kepler, for example, actually costs SEK 269. Now during the book sale, it is reduced to SEK 99: these are paperback prices, says Anneli Lundqvist store manager of Akademibokhandeln in Skellefteå.

What's the level of interest of Skellefteå residents in the book sale?

– High. Already yesterday, before the sale had started, people started coming in taking a look at the range and finding out where the books are. Although many people listen to audiobooks, books are the perfect gift. And especially for children, treating them to books is nice.

So what do you expect on the opening day of the book sale?

– So, this is really a celebration. When you've been struggling with expensive electricity bills, the book sale is a good opportunity to treat yourself. So I expect a lovely day with happy people and a real book party.

Do you have any other news for this year?

– It is possible to pre-order with us by emailing or calling. So you can pick up the book in the store when it's a little quieter. It is important that everyone can take part in our book sale, regardless of where you live or when you can come, says Anneli.                                     

Anneli Lundqvist, store manager of Akademibokhandeln in Skellefteå, is excited about the start of the book sale.