If you listen to the media, then you know that many industries, such as retail, travel, and transportation, are taking a big blow due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, some industries are faring well, including healthcare, consumer goods, and online learning.
What about authors and the current status of book sales in America?
Fortunately, there is some good news, and I detailed this information last week in a free webinar that explained 6 ways to tastefully promote your book during this pandemic.
If you missed this vital instruction, watch the free recording below. Please share this video with other authors you know and urge them to watch it.
How to Sell Books When the World Shuts Down:
In other news, NPD Bookscan recently released updated retail book sales figures in the U.S. through March 14th. (Bookscan tracks about 75% of all print book sales at the major retailers. E-books are not included, and Amazon completely owns that market anyway.)
Before March 8th, book sales were steadily increasing. However, sales began a downward trend during the week of March 8th – 14th. In the Top 15 cities across America, retail sales dropped on average around 9% during those 7 days. Fortunately, it wasn’t a bloodbath. People still bought over 12,500,000 books that week alone, which wasn’t that much lower than previous sales weeks.
Here’s another surprise. During the same time period in Seattle, one of the cities most affected by Covid-19, sales actually went up 2.1% week over week, and up 3.6% overall year to date!
Kristin McLean of NPD Bookscan said, “This may be a positive indicator for buying behavior in future weeks in communities that are behind Seattle in this isolation process, however it is too early to tell for sure. For now, it is clear that most major metropolitan markets are experiencing a sharp contraction as consumers focus on ‘social distancing’ measures and head indoors with their families.”
NPD Bookscan also listed the book content trends on the rise last week:
- Studying from home/what to do with the kids (by far the biggest grouping)
- Reading for pleasure
- DIY and home skills- canning, cooking, cooking outside, fixing anything
- Books focused on medical issues, health, and disease
- Books on religious themes and practices
If you sell books that address any of these five areas, you’re in position to do well.
At the moment, print book sales are only down -1% for 2020 year to date. So, books and authors are faring much better than other industries.
Please take this good news to heart. This is NOT the time to give up on your books or crawl into a hole and tell yourself the sky is falling.
Millions of Americans are still buying books in their time of need.
As an author, you play a major role to provide books that stabilize and comfort people during this crisis. Don’t stop marketing. In fact, if you have the time and financial means, increase your advertising and promotional efforts even more.
My friends, don’t give up. So far, the news isn’t that bad. Sure, the crisis is a long way from over. But, as the good folks in England like to say:
Keep calm and carry on…selling your books.