THE JANE AUSTEN CENTRE – INSPIRING THOUSANDS
When The Jane Austen Centre in Bath was first set up, in May 1999, we recognised the need not only to establish ourselves as a popular tourist attraction, or even as an authoritative body on Jane Austen, but more importantly, we believed one of our aims should be to actively promote reading, making literature appear more accessible and books more readily available. Our latest figures show we have more than achieved this. Working in the Centre’s small but well stocked gift and book shop puts me in the perfect position to identify our visitor’s levels of interest in Jane Austen. Where we were expecting our average visitor to be a real Jane Austen enthusiast, who had read all the novels and wanted to know a bit more about the woman behind the writing, we were wrong. What we are in fact seeing are an increasing number of visitors who know the name, but not the books, who may have seen one or two of the films, but that’s about it. With this in mind, it is with great satisfaction that we can report our book sales figures.