THE Gaelic Books Council (GBC) has hailed a massive spike in online sales as Covid closures fuel a reading boom.

Data from official book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan shows more than 200 million print books were purchased in the UK last year.

The figure is equivalent to a 5.2% year-on-year increase.

Now it's been confirmed that the spike in interest translated into a boost for Gaelic-language materials.

The GBC revealed sales through its website rocketed by a smashing 115% in 2020, compared with the previous 12 months.

The charity says that rise was "driven by the increasing interest in learning the language and by the success of new titles produced by independent Scottish publishers" with grant funding it provided.

READ MORE: Scots translator of Diary of a Wimpy Kid gets nod from original author

These include Luath Press hit 100 Dàn as Fheàrr Leinn / 100 Favourite Gaelic Poems, by Peter Mackay and Jo MacDonald, and John Urquhart's Air an Oir, released by Acair.

Meanwhile, viewers from as far afield as America logged in for online book launches, including that of An Gille, am Famh an Sionnach ’s an t-Each, the translation of Charlie Mackesy’s bestseller The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.

According to Nielsen Bookscan, the English version was the highest selling title in the UK this year, followed by Richard Osman’s crime thriller The Thursday Murder Club and cookbook Pinch of Nom – Everyday Light.

Hundreds of pupils in Scotland have also viewed learning material produced by GBC and online learning platform e-Sgoil.

It is now preparing for the publication of the first Gaelic version of George Orwell's Animal Farm and the first complete collection of Iain Crichton Smith's Gaelic short stories, amongst others.

READ MORE: 'Housing crisis is a threat to our languages': Cross-border call on Gaelic, Welsh and more

In a statement, GBC said: "2020 was a year like no other for the publishing industry in Scotland, and many publishers have faced significant challenges, but by adapting to digital technology the Gaelic Books Council has been able to support Scottish Gaelic authors and publishers and to raise the profile of Gaelic literature in Scotland and internationally."

It went on: "The loyalty of our customers and the generosity of individual donors have also been vital in sustaining the organisation throughout 2020, and we look with confidence to the coming year."