The situation of coronavirus was unexpected and unprepared. No one of the authors would have dreamed of such a situation that could plummet the sales of their books. Many authors and publishing companies are hit since most bookstores from everywhere in the world are closed since the beginning of March 2020.
On one hand, people are many people are spending days together indoors and have more time on their hands. While many previously attributed their busy schedule as the reason for not able to read books, they now have the gift of time and are finally ready to commit the time to books. However, on the other hand, the book shops are closed and even the online delivery services are stopped.
The Reaction of the Top E-Commerce Book Service Providers
Amazon, which contributes single-handedly contributes to 50% of the book sales in the US, has deprioritized the delivery of the books as it isn’t considered as an essential item. Many other book-based e-commerce businesses are also making the same decision and pausing their services until the condition of the coronavirus dials down.
Barnes & Noble, that has many numbers of book shops all around the US is trying to keep its shops open as much as possible. Even when it’s facing heat from the authorities for opening their book shops, they are trying their best to help their customers to get their hands on books. Even at the book shops of Barnes & Noble that are closed, they still offer book delivery services or at the least, curbside pickup of the books from near the stores.
The sales of books from Barnes & Noble are still showing strong numbers despite the COVID-19 pandemic. They are trying to cut back the hours and keep the shops open for a short time to help the readers get their hands on books.
The Performance of eBooks and Audiobooks
Since buying physical books isn’t easy now, many are turning to other forms of books like ebooks and audiobooks. The sales of ebooks and audiobooks are reaching new heights with record sales. Libro.fm, an audio bookstore, has recorded an increase of 150% in the sales from February 15, 2020, to March 15, 2020. It changed its business model by predicting the condition of independent bookstores by allowing bookstores to create virtual stores on their platform with affiliate forms of revenue earned from the sales.
Bookshop.org, another such digital bookstore, has seen a jump of over 400% in just over 4 days in mid-March 2020. Such digital bookstores are becoming the next preferred option for book lovers who cannot get their hands on physical books.
In a survey conducted in Sweden about the sales of books in different books, it’s clear while the sale of physical books and retail sales have decreased, the online book sales have increased in March and April 2020. Due to the increase in the sales of online books, the total book sales have actually increased, if not, at the least, sustained its momentum.
Similarly, Waterstones, which provides online books in the UK, is seeing a 400% increase in the sales week by week. NPD Bookscan which tracks about 85% of the physical book sales recorded a decrease in the sale of children’s books and adult non-fiction books.
The conditions of the publishing industry are changing which is why many authors and publishing companies are converting to ebooks and audiobooks to make up for the loss of sales in the sale of physical books.
If you are an author affected by the condition of coronavirus, then it’s time to look for other options to sell their books.