Corona vs. the stacks of unread books

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

So far i had assumed that the (literary) publishing sector would be relatively immune to the crisis. After all people being stuck have more time to read and books are relatively easy to deliver1 So i was rather surprised to learn this moring that the Europeam publishing sector has seen a substantial decline in sales since the onset of the pandemic. According to Anne, people do read a lot more while stuck at home but they mainly read books they have already and ebooks (also due to the fact that in most European countries bookstores where closed during the height of the pandemic).

In response to this development The Federation of European Publishers and the European and iInternational Booksellers Federation have launched a call for governments to support the book sector by funding programmes that would allow libraries and other institutions such as schools to aquire books though local bookstores.

It is not very often that i am fully aligned with proposals coming from the publishing sector, but this seems like a pretty clever idea to me that would benefit an entire value chain from authors all the way to libraries and schools.

  1. Case in point my go to bookstore in Amsterdam, the American Book Center, has seen its delivery volume increase so much that it now makes sense for them to do the delivery themselves. If you order at ABC and you live in Amsterdam within the Ring, an ABC employee will deliver your order by bicycle. ↩︎