Within the book segment, the autumn is generally the time of the year. Now, autumn 2020, sales are expected to be exceptional. The editorial column of The Guardian presents the fact that nearly 600 books were about to be published in the UK on September 3rd alone. This is fact an increase of about a third compared to last year.
What’s behind the record number of books for publishing? Some of these books were indeed planned for release during the spring and were postponed due to the covid-19 lockdown, writes The Guardian. But we also see that the publishing numbers have risen by 5% on an annual basis the last decade. This is a year-by-year development, steady increase. And, note that into these figures are not included the many self-published books that have also entered the market.
One extra for every ten books
The Bookseller, providing news from the British publishing industry, shows that sales figures have risen in autumn 2020. Compared to the first two weeks of September 2019, print book sales increased by 11%. For every ten books that were sold, one book extra was added to the shopping bag. And this seems to be just the beginning. October 1st, another additional 790 hardback titles are due for publishing, reports The Guardian.
“We haven’t seen anything like it since Harry Potter,” says one of the large bookstore chains.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint", says another of the chains. "There’s some really, really big books still to come."
Is this a revival of the book publishing market?
While the book sales is doing better, the book stores in themselves have been struggling for a while. They are therefore not very keen to take risks. Consequently the books in the stores are often the highly promoted titles, bestseller versions, published by the biggest publishers. And the online stores are often too expensive for the smaller players and a challenge for lesser known authors to shine through.
The Guardian's editorial column argues that the biggest publishers are the ones that thrive in this business today. Smaller pressers and lesser known authors have a hard time and may need support. But it is obvious that buyers are now back in the stores again. Whether increasing sales figures will lead to a trickle-down effect that benefits all, and how the market is affected in the long run, is yet to be seen.