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Covid-19 Industry impact

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Devor, Apr 16, 2020.

  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I just learned that Adult Fiction sales are down 21% with Epic Fantasy specifically down 25% right now. That's a huge drop, and I don't know if everyone here would've expected it. That's going to squeeze out a lot of indie publishers, put even the big ones off of risk taking, and take the publishing industry a couple of years to recover at least. If anyone thought reading would thrive right now, that's proving not to be the case.

    Bibles, kids' non-fiction, and classic literature (books nonreaders wanted to read but never did) are all up.

    That's according to Forbes.

    ‘The Plague’ Is A Top Seller As Fiction Sales Drop During Coronavirus Shutdowns
     
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  2. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    I was very surprised to read this, before realizing that "Adult" fiction might just mean fiction aimed at adults in this context.

    Then again, maybe both have dwindled given the books that are on the rise. I personally doubt this trend will last, people will soon enough return to more escapist reading material once the novelty of self-isolating wears off.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
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  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I don't think it's that Ban. People are out of work and tightly budgeting. Many of the people who normally drive book sales don't have money to spare for novels.
     
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  4. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    Perhaps, but the fact that there are books on the rise implies that people are still willing to pay for books. Once everyone desiring Bibles and in need of Children's books have had their fill, it wouldn't surprise me to see them return to spending on escapist fiction. Not in the same spirit as before perhaps, but I do think it will rebound even within the timespan of the Pandemic.
     
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  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    A lot of people are homeschooling, that doesn't make them readers. And others are finally picking up Catcher in the Rye or some other book they never got around to reading. It's a lot of people picking up a book or two, so they grab a classic.

    I don't think that compensates for or correlates well to the avid readers who normally read a novel a week but now can't afford to buy them. Those people are going to be stuck reading their backlog for a while as sales continue to dwindle.
     
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  6. Taniwha

    Taniwha Scribe

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    TBH I don't know that people know whether or not they are able to purchase books online (and have them delivered) over this lockdown period in New Zealand. The deal is we've been told 'Essential Items Only' and it's a pretty narrow list of contents. I assumed we could not but your post makes me want to look and see what the retailers are doing. I suspect most NZers are unaware.
    OK I've just checked - the delivery is the issue. Even if we order from an offshore company, deliveries will now probably be longer than our lockdown is supposed to be. Books other than school / text books are not being treated as 'Essential Items' therefore courier companies aren't allowed to deliver them and they're also potentially 'dangerous' in terms of being virus carriers
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
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  7. Taniwha

    Taniwha Scribe

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    FYI (from Book Depository);
    Latest delivery information
    Last updated on 14/04 Please be aware that deliveries are impacted in some countries due to Coronavirus. See below for the full list of affected regions. If your country isn't mentioned below, we believe that delivery is still happening within our estimated delivery times but please check your local postal guidelines and allow a bit more time for delivery. Our customer service team is incredibly busy so please be patient if you need to contact us at this time.

    Australia
    Due to reduced flight availability, we have had to extend our usual estimated delivery times to 10-15 days.

    Brazil
    Due to ongoing delivery disruptions, postal deliveries are being delayed. Please allow extra time for the delivery of your order.

    China
    Please be aware that deliveries to some locations within China may be delayed for an indeterminate period.

    France
    Please be aware that deliveries to the following areas in Île-de-France region are no longer possible: 91160, 91200, 91260, 91300, 91320, 91420, 91430, 91550, 91973, 92120, 92140, 92160, 92170, 92220, 92240, 92260, 92290, 92320, 92330, 92340, 92350, 94110, 94150, 94230, 94240, 94250, 94260, 94290, 94310, 94320, 94390,94480, 94550, 92110, 92200, 92230,92250,92270, 92300, 92390, 92400, 92600, 92700, 92800, 93200, 93210, 93240, 93380, 93430, 93450, 93800,932190,75008, 75017, 75018.
    If you have orders that are on their way to you, allow 5-7 extra days for delivery and if your order is not with you, please contact our Customer Service team.

    India
    Please be aware that we had to temporarily cease delivery to India. If you have orders that are currently on their way to you, allow 5-7 extra days for delivery and if your order is not with you, please contact our Customer Service team. If you have orders that have not shipped yet, they will be cancelled and refunded to the payment method used to place the order within 2 - 3 business days.

    Italy
    Please be aware that we had to temporarily cease delivery to Italy. If you have orders that are currently on their way to you, allow 5-7 extra days for delivery and if your order is not with you, please contact our Customer Service team. If you have orders that have not shipped yet, they will be cancelled and refunded to the payment method used to place the order within 2 - 3 business days.

    Morocco
    Please be aware that as borders have closed, deliveries are no longer possible. If you have orders that are currently on their way to you, allow 5-7 extra days for delivery and if your order is not with you, please contact our Customer Service team. If you have orders that have not shipped yet, they will be cancelled and refunded to the payment method used to place the order within 2 - 3 business days.

    New Zealand
    As a result of ongoing delivery disruptions, postal deliveries may take a little longer to arrive. Please allow extra 5-7 days for the delivery of your order.

    Peru
    Please be aware that we had to temporarily cease delivery to Peru. If you have orders that are currently on their way to you, allow 5-7 extra days for delivery and if your order is not with you, please contact our Customer Service team. If you have orders that have not shipped yet, they will be cancelled and refunded to the payment method used to place the order within 2 - 3 business days.

    Philippines
    Please be aware that we had to temporarily cease delivery to Philippines. If you have orders that are currently on their way to you, allow 5-7 extra days for delivery and if your order is not with you, please contact our Customer Service team.

    Saudi Arabia
    Please be aware that we expect deliveries to Saudi Arabia to be delayed by 5-7 days. Further, please note that due to the lockdown items cannot be delivered to your door in certain areas. Aramex will make items shipped to these areas available for collection from the closest Aramex service centre. You can contact Aramex via their website using your delivery address to confirm the location of your order.

    South Africa
    Please be aware that as borders have closed, deliveries are no longer possible. If you have orders that are currently on their way to you, allow 5-7 extra days for delivery and if your order is not with you, please contact our Customer Service team. If you have orders that have not shipped yet, they will be cancelled and refunded to the payment method used to place the order within 2 - 3 business days.

    Spain -- province of Barcelona
    Please be aware that we are unable to ship to the province of Barcelona until further notice. If you have orders that are currently on their way to you, allow 5-7 extra days for delivery and if your order is not with you, please contact our Customer Service team.

    United Arab Emirates
    Please be aware that we expect deliveries to the United Arab Emirates to be delayed by 5-7 days. Further, please note that due to the lockdown items cannot be delivered to your door in certain areas. You can contact Aramex via their website using your delivery address to confirm the location of your order.

    United Kingdom
    As postal services are very busy at the moment, please be aware that deliveries to some areas within the UK may be slightly delayed.

    Vietnam
    Please be aware that we had to temporarily cease delivery to Vietnam. If you have orders that are currently on their way to you, allow 5-7 extra days for delivery and if your order is not with you, please contact our Customer Service team. If you have orders that have not shipped yet, they will be cancelled and refunded to the payment method used to place the order within 2 - 3 business days.

    Dispatched from Australia to the rest of the world
    Due to carrier restrictions, it is currently not possible to ship orders from Australia to the following countries: Austria, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey. Additionally, any orders shipping from Australia to any other location outside of Australia may be severely delayed. To see where an item is shipping from, check the product page for the 'dispatched from' information located close to the 'add to basket' button.
     
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  8. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

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    It's always interesting to find out where they got their numbers. As a general policy Amazon doesn't share sales numbers I think for instance. So it always remains to be seen if it's "All sales are down" or just "the sales we can measure are down".

    A thing to remember is though that in the current circumstances 25% isn't all that much really. Yes, it will be felt by authors and publishers. But, just to compare, at the place I work (tourism sector), sales for the month are down 90%. I can imagine other areas suffer the same fate. And then 25% is actually not a lot.

    It can very well be a case of people who can't get to the bookstore and online sales being delayed or deemed "non-essential". A stat they don't mention is if there is a difference between physical books and ebooks. If ebooks are also down, then it's more likely a case of people postponing sales for economic reasons. If they are not (or less so), then it's more a case of people simply not able to get books.
     
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  9. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    For sure 25% is nothing right now compared to many industries. I was just reading from someone who works at a company selling sports uniforms to schools and their sales zeroed out completely. Not only did they lay off the entire staff, but the three people left reduced their salaries to minimum wage and they're going to struggle to afford the overhead they'll need to reboot when this is over. By comparison the publishing industry can work from home, and I'm pretty sure most indie publishers outsource their printing, so overhead is slight.

    Still, in real value 25% is a big deal for the publishing industry, and it's going to do serious harm to indie publishers and bookstores, as well as to the number and types of novels the big publishers pick up.
     
  10. Vaporo

    Vaporo Inkling

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    Off-topic a bit, but I'm curious to see whether there will be a surge of submissions on the publisher side of things. People are home, not much else to do. A lot of people who just didn't have the time or the energy to write before will probably finish stories they've had knocking around for a while. There might be some extra competition to get published in the coming months.
     
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  11. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    This article cites NPD Bookscan, which is a point-of-sale only marketing research outfit. Came from Nielsen, which used to do TV ratings back when TV was over the air. Anyway, there's not a peep about ebook sales. And The Plague tripling sales between end of February and mid-March hardly vaults it to best-seller status, so the headline is overwrought. But it really is a very good book.

    But yeah, anyone relying heavily on physical book sales is going to have rocky times. Tor Publishing said as much recently, and the comic book industry is absorbing body blows right now. I expect physical book sales to bounce back once shippers are no longer needing to prioritize for a crisis. Comic books almost certainly will take longer, as many comic book stores are going to go out of business permanently.
     
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  12. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

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    I'm curious if there will be a "second wave" of ebook adoption. The growth of ebooks as a % of total sales slowed and physical books are still alive and kicking. Perhaps the current situation will urge more people to try an ebook if they can't get their hands on a physical one. And some people may find they like ebooks after all.
     
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  13. Not sure how this plays out in other part so the world, or even in the rest of the US, but our library system upped its online loan total from 4 a month to 20 for March, April and likely May. They also began offering a complete online magazine library as well. I haven't had a reason to even consider buying a book since they've also upped the number of books/comics/audiobooks that are available, including many new, recently released titles. I'm guessing a lot of people are taking advantage of such access and availability across the world. For me. I almost never used my four per month prior because I prefer physical books to online reading but I know a lot of people who read far more than I do and I am sure they're taking full advantage right now.
     
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  14. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    As they say, nothing is as permanent as a temporary solution.

    I think a lot of things in media distribution that are now regarded as stopgap measures will find some appreciation and have people thinking "why don't we keep doing this"?
    As I mentioned in another thread, the whole distribution system of the American comic market pretty much collapsed over night. Since there currently is no way to sell new releases anyway, whatever is going to replace it in the future is entirely up in the air now. And since nobody really knows any time tables for the future, nobody outside the executive offices has heard anything about any plans in development for how the American comics industry might look like in the future.
    Some analysts even think the superhero comic genre will disappear more or less entirely, and the series only continue in movies. That had been coming for several years now, and this might be the moment where everything suddenly happens very quickly.
     
  15. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    YoraYora, I don't know about the industry as a whole, but Marvel comics at least were running pretty strong before this began, and I think it's pretty unlikely that they'll just abandon it when this is done. Even if the actual printed form takes a dive, there are a ton of web-based solutions they can experiment with, and they have the resources to pursue them.
     
  16. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    The comic segment of Marvel has actually been doing poorly for a long time. The movies are doing great, but people have been speculating about the comic department getting closed and Disney selling a license for making what would basically be movie tie-in comics to smaller publishers for a long time now.
    Spiderman won't just be discontinued of course, but Marvel might not be the publisher. I believe DC is said to be doing better, though.
     
  17. Vaporo

    Vaporo Inkling

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    Compounding the superhero comics problem for Marvel in particular is the fact that right around the time the lockdown started they announced a couple of comics whose premises were extremely ill-received.
     
  18. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I'll have to take your word on that as I don't have the brainpower to search it up. But I had been reading a lot of positive things about what they were doing under Hickman with the X-Men. Disney had also just installed Feige as the creative head for even the comics division, and I expect that'll take some time to make a difference.
     
  19. Vaporo

    Vaporo Inkling

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    Check out the like to dislike ratio on this announcement video:

    It's... not great.

    EDIT: Actually, I think you meant this as a response to Yora's post. Well, have the link anyways.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
  20. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I'll, err.... it seems like that one got a little caught up in the internet culture wars. But new risky projects that bomb is always supposed to be a thing in art. It doesn't mean much of anything by itself.
     
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