CommentarySeptember 11th, 2020
Turning the Page on Reading Habits
Last month we spoke about how the industry has adapted to new ways of working – the ways in which publishers, bookshops and various other organisations have found creative ways to reach readers, as well as how the industry has adapted in itself, with everything from business meetings to literary festivals finding themselves online. This month, we’re exploring how consumer habits have changed – both in terms of the kind of content we are consuming, and how we are getting it.
With statistics coming in from every corner on both print and digital sales, and year on year comparisons being made as the high street and its bookshops become busier, it is becoming apparent that there is no easy way to predict how the rest of the year will pan out for publishing. What we can see however, is a definite shift towards digital content, and with that, a great opportunity for publishers to engage with readers also.
Firsty Group Founder & CEO
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused two important swings in the way people buy books—and their new habits could last long beyond lockdown.
As publishing emerges from lockdown, all of us are coming to terms with some seismic changes in consumers’ behaviour. And it is already clear that the pandemic has accelerated two important movements in people’s book habits: from print to digital reading, and from retail to direct buying.
Increased interest in eBooks builds on a notable shift in their favour in 2019. The Publishers Association’s just-published Yearbook shows that sales of publishers’ digital consumer content—mostly eBooks and audiobook downloads—increased by 4.6% to £336m in 2019. That is comfortably ahead of 3.3% growth in print sales, and means that digital accounted for nearly a fifth of publishers’ total consumer sales last year.