Book Publishing in 2020

Hello, everyone! McKenna from the Macon County Public Library here, to talk to you all about a subject that may concern you, as a reader, greatly. Today I want to tell you all about the 2020 publishing industry.

Now, as some of you have probably noticed, just because the world seems to be closing off and shutting down, new books are still hitting the shelves. Interestingly enough, Publishers Weekly has found that “while demand for books has historically been steady . . . buying patterns have changed as a result of the pandemic.” As folks found themselves unable to leave the perimeters of their own homes (except in emergencies or for groceries), they developed a desire for new hobbies and skills. This desire resulted in a drastic spike in sales for books on outdoor activities, games, and other crafting activities.

That being said, sales for literary fiction also increased over the pandemic. Though one part of the publishing process, especially for fiction novels, that took a hit was book tours. Publishers use book tours as a great marketing technique—readers love being able to meet authors face-to-face to discuss the new release. With pandemic guidelines making it impossible for these face-to-face meetings, authors took to the most popular app of 2020 to communicate with their fans.

That’s right: Zoom calls became extremely prevalent in the publishing industry this year. In fact, every night of release week for The Silvered Serpents, author Roshani Chokshi hosted a Zoom call with a different author to discuss the sequel. Brandon Mull, author of the 2020 release Champion of the Titan Games, even gave prizes away during a trivia-based Zoom call dedicated to the Dragonwatch and Fablehaven series.

Thankfully, book publishing is an industry that does not wholly rely on in-person gatherings. Publishers are able to promote their books through advanced reader copies sent to bloggers for free marketing. I personally participated in a blog tour, promoting Hayley Krischer’s debut novel Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf.

Despite these successful changes to the usual procedures, the publishing industry still felt the loss of 2020. This month Macmillan announced the closing of its children’s imprint Imprint. While the books to-be-published by the imprint are being reassigned to one of the publisher’s other imprints, these authors will be assigned different editors who have never worked on the project before. Authors previously contracted with this imprint may suffer from the transition and may even not receive the same marketing or benefits as they would have with Imprint. Publishers Weekly has compiled a list of other changes to the industry during this year.

With all of these changes and losses of 2020, readers should not be discouraged, rather they should be encouraged to support their favorite authors, publishers, and editors by reading their books and recommending them to other readers. Together, we can keep this beloved industry going!

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