Edinburgh book festival reveals record audience figures

More than 250,000 people flocked to Charlotte Square Gardens during this year's book festival.
More than 250,000 people flocked to Charlotte Square Gardens during this year's book festival.
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The organisers of the Edinburgh International Book Festival have reported the highest ever attendances in the event’s 34-year history.

More than 130,000 tickets were sold for the first time ever after the festival expanded onto George Street, with the box office four per cent up on last year’s previous record-breaking tally.

Festival director Nick Barley said this year's event had been "a riot of ideas, entertainment and unforgettable conversations."

Festival director Nick Barley said this year's event had been "a riot of ideas, entertainment and unforgettable conversations."

However organisers said more than 250,000 had flocked into the festival’s long-running home in Charlotte Square Gardens for the first time - around 20,000 more than last year.

More than 63,000 books were sold over the course of the 17-day festival - up five per cent on last year.

Two new book festival venues, and a new outdoor cafe, were created at the west end of George Street, under the festival's expansion.

The expansion of the book festival has coincided with the 70th birthday of the Fringe and the Edinburgh International Festival, as well as the 250th anniversary of the New Town.

Festival director Nick Barley said: “It’s wonderful to see that our extension into George Street has attracted new audiences, while allowing us to retain all the spirit and vigour of the festival’s beating heart in Charlotte Square Gardens.

“This year’s festival has been a riot of ideas, entertainment and unforgettable conversations involving writers and readers from all corners of the world – from Bonnyrigg to Buenos Aires and from Lewis to Lagos.”

Among the hottest tickets at this year’s book festival were events featuring First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Makar Jackie Kay, and American author Paul Auster and Richard Ford.