Thursday, March 26, 2020
How Are Authors Selling Books In A Pandemic?
Many libraries, schools, and bookstores are closed. Amazon is behind in deliveries. Speaking appearances and book signings have been cancelled. So how are books being sold in this environment?
Here are the answers each correct in some fashion:
· Social media is helping to sell more books
· Traditional and digital media is covering books
· Authors are doing webinars and online courses to sell books
· New online retailers are sprouting up
· Not everything is closed everywhere – it just sounds like that
· E-books are skyrocketing
· Audiobook downloads are surging
There is reason to hope. Everyone is cooped up and are open to reading books. Many run to the safe confines of books, whether to escape reality or to use this time to learn what they had been meaning to finally get to.
So many books do well in this environment, including:
· Children’s Books – kids need to learn and be entertained without school
· Thrillers – always a good time for them
· History – let’s learn from past disasters, depresssions and pandemics – or read about better days of the past
· Entertainment – love a good distraction
· Personal Finance – time to balance a budget and grow your assets
· Investing – gotta make back the money lost on Wall Street
· Survivalist Techniques – we are all preppers now
· Politics – the 2020 election is coming
· Humor – we need a laugh
· Sports – we can read about the past until the future games begin
· Health – this is our number one focus – how to stay healthy in mind and body
· Religion – we need some spiritual nourishment, especially when the churches and temples are closed
· Self-Help/Motivation – we all need uplifting stories now
· Cooking – if you can’t hit a restaurant or even afford takeout, learn how to cook
Travel -- if you can go somewhere physically, time to go with your mind -- and plan a future trip
Plus, let’s look forward, whether it is weeks, a month or a few months – stores will reopen, delivery times will improve, and the financial devastation will slowdown and start to return to better times.
But for the moment, as the world is upside down and filled with pain, fear, and uncertainty – and financial insecurity fills millions of homes and thousands of others confront death and severe illness – the book world is combusting. Indie stores have laid off workers and shuttered operations. Some publishers are looking at bankruptcy or a merger. Book releases scheduled for April or May are getting pushed back. Even the nation’s leading book trade show, Book Expo America, had to reschedule its date but right now its home, the Javits Center in NYC, is being used as a makeshift hospital to battle a plague. It is ugly out there.
Still, the belief is it is temporary and we just need to weather the storm for the moment.
A decade ago the industry was hit by many challenges – the Great Recession, the ebook revolution, Amazon taking over the industry as Borders drop dead, technology allowing for the majority of published books to be self-published, and the Internet providing free competition for content providers.
But the American book industry rose from the dead and all of that transition and uncertainty. It is going through another tough time now, as many Americans are. Every day that passes means we get a day closer to recovery. The pandemic seems like it is a book that has no ending, but the truth is, we know how it ends. And we know that the book world will get a new beginning and rise up. I can’t wait for the sequel!
Please Read These Timely Posts
A Book Marketing Pandemic Playbook
What Types of Books Can Get Media Coverage Now?
The Bestseller Code For Book Marketers & Authors
What Should You Do to Market Your Book?
Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this
terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.