Book publishing and book selling will survive and thrive in a post-COVID19 world. It will adapt depending on reader preferences. Buying patterns emerge. Below are some general thoughts of 10 potential areas of growth.
What types of books will benefit:
- Children’s learning books — this group has had the immediate upside as parents were forced to homeschool . It should continue but will drop off in summer. Callisto’s Rockridge Press has taken advantage of this better than any publisher and dominates the Bookscan Top sellers in “children’s non-fiction” titles. The numbers remain strong.
- Digital — now is the time to experiment with more titles. Subscription? Different types of digital. Look at Amazon alternatives. Companies like EPIC! and ckbk.com have seen huge increases. Each has a unique selling model.
- Journals — we are living in historic times, it is being documented. Guided journals and blank journals will help people cope with this crisis too. This is an area that is easier for self-published books. Corporate publishers are here too. BURN AFTER WRITING (Perigee – an imprint of PRH) is an example of a guided journal that has been selling in Amazon’s top 100 for weeks.
- Organization — clean out your clutter / put your life in order. Now is the time to do it. Get rid of that crap you have been looking at for a decade. This trend started in earnest prior with the Marie Kondo phenomenon.
- Entrepreneurship — with millions out of work, people will be forced to figure out what to do. After the 2008 recession, many new businesses were created including such unicorns as Uber, Venmo, Groupon, Instagram, Pinterest, and Square.
- Self-help/reflection — profound changes have many looking inward. People are seeking help and answers. The lock-down and forced stay-at-home rules have created much more “alone time” for everyone. This has created much more inner reflection. Some turn to religion, others more secular. These books had been on an upward trend prior to the lock-down and should continue to sell.
- Less expensive gift books — recession is coming and people will be tightening their spending. A $50 gift book will have less appeal than a $30 one as millions are budget conscious as we enter a recession. What type of discounts will retailers be selling books at too is a factor.
- Big brands — in times of distress, people will move back to brands that make them happy. An established brand is a push back to normalcy. Brands spend million building and in times of strife, readers will return to their old favorites. Brands (and authors as brands) will continue to thrive. Would be a good time to push back-list and create deals for name-brand authors.
- Self sustainability – do it and grow it yourself. Although You Tube and videos have severely dampened book sales, there still is an opportunity. With supply chains challenged, there is a move to growing your own food, repairing things yourself, and relying less on the system and more on oneself. I would include basic cookbooks as potentials in this group too.
- Adult activity books – from coloring books to puzzles, people are seeking amusement. There are millions of titles and some have pushed into Amazon best-sellers of late. The titles that are trending now are more “escapist” or “humorous.” Books by Jade Summer have been in Amazon’s top sellers of late.