Lockdown forces book industry to evolve at warp speed
The coronavirus crisis has accelerated the industry’s digital revolution, changed reading habits and forced publishers to do things differently
What a time to read. For the books industry, however, the age of confinement tells a rather different story — one played out in a relentless stream of postponed book launches, cancelled events and disappearing sales figures.
And yet while Covid-19 has dealt a heavy blow to publishers and booksellers, it has also unleashed a frenzy of innovation aimed at getting books into the hands of readers, promoting new titles and keeping the literary discussion going. While readers have been sharing recommendations of their favourite lockdown reads — from La Peste to War and Peace — the industry has been busy sharing Zoom invites to “visual author events”, launching new membership and subscription models, relocating literary festivals from sodden fields to the expanses of cyberspace, and uploading yet more podcasts.