There’s no denying that the year 2020 is one that will be remembered forever (perhaps not with fondness, but hopefully with meaningful lessons learned for the future). Following a global pandemic that really began to emerge in March and resulted in massive layoffs, restructuring from in-person to virtual office work, social distancing and quarantine mandates, and much global stress from the loss of jobs, income, and the normalcy we experienced pre-COVID-19, the publishing industry is just one of many areas that have been impacted in a myriad of ways.
Our editing and publishing experts here at Midnight Publishing in Phoenix have been keeping a finger on the pulse of the post-COVID-19 publishing industry as new developments evolve in readerships, types of popular content consumed, and virtual book launches and marketing because we know our clients—authors and entrepreneurs, traditionally published and independent alike—are just as curious as we are about how best to navigate this currently tumultous landscape of authorship and book publication during a pandemic. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you, and below are Midnight Publishing’s book experts’ three main predictions for changes to the industry that we’ll continue to see through the end of 2020 and into next year.
Digital book sales (e-books) and audiobooks are up and will continue to rise.
It comes as no surprise that with the temporary or permanent closures of many brick-and-mortar stores and libraries that people have had a difficult time accessing their favorite bookstores to buy new print titles. What has increased, however, are e-book and audiobook sales that don’t require leaving the house to purchase—especially in the Children’s and Young Adult categories. This will no doubt continue as the pandemic remains at the forefront of most consumers’ minds into 2021, with schools continuing to adapt to virtual and home learning and in-person book-buying still being advised against or prevented altogether.
Sales in genre fiction including Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, and Young Adult have risen in popularity and will continue to do so.
Two of the top-selling books for the year 2020 so far reflect readers’ desires for fantastical premises and worldbuilding that allow an escape from the news and everyday challenges of life during a pandemic (it doesn’t hurt that they’re also by Stephenie Meyer of the Twilight series and Suzanne Collins of The Hunger Games series, with built-in readerships already). Additionally, trends show that other fiction genres including Action/Adventure, Science Fiction, and Fantasy are all increasing in popularity, indicating a younger readership who are at home and taking advantage of digital book content.
Book launches, campaigns, and giveaways have gone virtual—and many may stay that way.
After many states and cities initiated stay-at-home orders earlier in 2020 that may remain—in some shape or form—a regulation for the remainder of the year, authors, publishers, and their public relations teams have had to get creative in terms of book launches and marketing for new releases. While indie authors are undoubtedly more prepared in this arena of “online marketing”—due to smaller budgets for travel and book swag, less connections with big-box bookstores and venues for events, and reduced media support via prestigious reviews and high-profile features—traditional publishers are now turning the corner on virtual launches, hosting campaigns and giveaways on Zoom and YouTube, and devoting energy to other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. This transition online offers a variety of perks that we predict to continue past COVID-19’s restrictions on event access—online events can be more accessible to readers and participating authors, and offer lower upfront costs due to the lack of travel, staffing, and rental space required for a traditional, in-person book signing.
Now more than ever is the time to consider self-publishing your fiction or nonfiction book in order to reach readers where they’re at—on their phones, e-readers, tablets, and other digital devices. Contact us here at Midnight Publishing today to discuss how we can provide editing, ghostwriting, or consulting assistance to take you to the finish line of self-publication in this unique time of opportunity for authors—we may be based in Phoenix, Arizona, but we’re available globally and virtually anytime!