Did the coronavirus pandemic lead to an increase in fiction sales?

According to the figures reported and published by the Publishers Association, fiction and audiobooks performed really well amongst the users. The consumer sales surged to about 7% despite bookshop closure. 

While a lot of people found comfort in the OTT platforms, some, however, picked up their reading glasses during the pandemic. Fiction books especially rose by 16% in 2020, that is by more than £100m for UK publishers. Audiobook sales also rose by more than a third. 

Figures from the Publishers Association show that fiction sales for UK publishers rose by 16% from £571m to £688m last year. It is also to be noted that the overall value of UK publisher sales of books, journals and rights sales both at home and abroad rose by 2% to £6.4bn.

Some of the main titles that saw growth were Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell,  Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, and more. The list also included the best-selling title of last year, Charlie Mackesy’s philosophical picture book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. 

Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of the Publishers Association, said, “It’s clear that many people rediscovered their love of reading last year and that publishers were able to deliver the entertaining and thought-provoking books that so many of us needed.”

The print sales fell as low as 6% as bookstores were closed globally due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, as all things were turning digital, total digital sales soared by 12%, that is around £3bn. 

According to research compiled by writing and proofreading service, Global English Editing shows that 35% of people in the world have read more books than usual since the pandemic began. 

You can view the world reading habits of 2020, here. 

Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo, told Publishers Weekly that they were seeing a spike in new account sign-ups and purchases similar to what they’d see around the holidays. 

India was one of the countries which read the most number of hours during 2020. On average, Indians read for about 10.42 hours. India publishes around 90,000 books each year. 

For the first nine months, ebooks saw a rise of 15.8% at  $855.8 million. 

Major publishing firms saw a rise in their sales. Third-quarter results posted by Harper-Collins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster report increases of 13%, 19% and 28.5%, respectively. 

Bloomsbury in an interview said that it was on its way to bigger than expected profits after a surge in reading. This has provided a ‘ray of sunshine’ over the past year.  

Talking to a 21-year-old avid reader from Hyderabad, “I started reading to catch up on all the things that I missed out due to college. Also, there were various YouTubers who were taking up challenges and I thought why not join in. Another thing that kept me going was discussing it with friends, like theme analysis, finding patterns, author’s writing style…relating these with pop culture media, this interested me. This kind of was my coping mechanism and helped me stay away from the negativity around me. I would pick up classics that I read as a kid to evaluate my thoughts then versus now. I usually go for second-hand books and I buy them in bulk, it seems sustainable.”

If you would like to take on a reading challenge this year, you can try the following. Do write to us and tell us what are you reading currently.

Leave a Reply