Offering insights on a range of book business sectors, including K-12 and higher education, the recently released independent report COVID-19 and Book Publishing: Impacts and Insights for 2021 looks beyond the trade bookselling sector to examine broader social and economic changes the pandemic has forced on publishing.
“One key finding is the need for publishers to re-think digital strategies,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior reporter.
“After years of treating digital as a threat, publishers now see that digital reading and digital fulfillment are central to their businesses,” he notes. “If the obvious move is to grow digital, then that’s going to come with a lot of uncertainty across the book business.”
In an ongoing survey of independent booksellers, PW correspondent Alex Green has indeed found wariness among respondents.
“Alex Green found there is widespread concern about what happens next,” Albanese tells CCC. “The good news in that survey is that losses in 2020 were not as deep for many of the responding booksellers as one might have thought. Online sales surged to unprecedented levels—for example.
“But of course, that can’t last forever. Let’s be honest, online ordering isn’t where local bookstores add value, right? The value of the bookstore is being able to go to the bookstore. To change from that model to an online model means staff and other business changes, and in the end, they’re in direct competition with Amazon, which is not sustainable.”