Are book sales staying healthy?


A question that is on the tip of every author’s tongue? How’s the book market doing during the pandemic? The answer is very well. You will remember that at the start of the pandemic we said book sales will most likely increase. More people will be seeking entertainment whilst at home. 

In this post, we will break down the best performing book genres, categories, countries, and more amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

eBook sales are growing – rapidly!

Unsurprisingly, digital entertainment is how the world is curing its boredom through the global lockdown. Sources are reporting that eBook sales have increased by 20% from February 2020 to March 2020. And Q1 2020 delivered over 10% growth in sales compared to Q4 2020.

Many publishers are now anticipating further growth and are speculating that sales numbers could increase an additional 30% based on the trends and data they currently have available. That is a great deal of extra income for PublishingPush.com’s authors who keep 100% of their royalties and are selling their books around the world. 

Sales of books for young readers and non-fiction are accelerating. 

As expected the most popular book genres overall remained fiction. More specifically romance, fantasy, thriller, and crime books. Self-help continued to do well.

The biggest shift in consumer behaviour has been an increase in people purchasing non-fiction. This is of course as schools and educational institutions have been forced to close. 

Where we have seen the biggest swings in consumer behaviour has been the following categories: Fantasy books, Literary, Classics, Foreign Language Study, Mystery books, Fantasy & Magic, science fiction or Science-Fiction, Historical, Education and Action & Adventure. These genres are often viewed as being more synonymous with the reading habits of a younger generation, and undeniably, consumers looking for educational material.

English Language Books Are In Demand!

What’s interesting about the chart below is the growth of the demand for English language books. When it comes to overall sales volume the UK and USA remain dominant. This chart shows where the rate at which English language fiction being purchased is increasing globally. New markets for English language books are appearing which is great news for authors. 

Subscription services, digital libraries and regional stores have also seen growth.

Often authors can have tunnel vision and they just think about single book sales and more specifically Amazon. That is a mistake as there are so many new ways readers are accessing books. The main sources are listed below: 

– Retail: Major outlets that reach readers globally. Usually, readers come here and purchase one copy of a book in either digital or physical form (eBook or Paperback). Examples of these outlets are Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Google Play Books, and Kobo.

– Subscription services: You download an application on your digital device and you pay a fixed monthly subscription which allows you access to a certain number of books per month. Some examples are Scribd, Bookmate, and Dreame.

– Digital library providers: This is no longer just for individuals. Many institutions like public libraries, schools, universities, or corporate libraries use services like this to provide their students or employees with books. Examples are OverDrive, Bibliotheca, Mackin, and Odilo.

– Regional stores: These are stores that can only be purchased from if you live in a certain area. For example, in China, there are specific stores that you can only buy from if you live in China. 

Publishers are increasingly reporting that on average 56% of book sales come from retail (Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc), 44%  from subscription (32%), libraries (3%), and regional stores (8%). How readers access books is shifting – don’t get left behind when you publish your next book.

Below is a breakdown showing sales platforms by volume of reader interaction. Put another way it shows where readers are buying books in March 2020. 

So how’s the book market faring during the COVID-19 pandemic? Digitally it is doing very well indeed!