Publishing industry challenges and opportunities in the face of COVID-19.
COVID-19 has brought monumental uncertainty and adversity in the publishing industry. However, crises breed opportunity, and it has been an exciting time for hybrid publishers in particular.
For traditional publishers, the pandemic hit hard. Many of the largest and most significant events have been canceled. The 2020 New York Comic Con was called off, the Bay Area Book Festival was postponed, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association canceled its annual in-person trade show, the American Booksellers Association postponed its children’s books convention, and the American Library Association 2020 Conference was dropped. Publishers have been forced to delay new releases and abandon author events. Overall sales have declined significantly since 2019. Traditional print distribution methods proved treacherous. Bookstores and libraries have shut down. Legal issues have risen due to one party’s inability to perform their contractual obligations, and there has been a proliferation of amateur self-publishing which has diluted the marketplace and quality standards.
Amid these difficulties, the pandemic is turning out to be a catalyst for much needed change in an industry that is quite archaic in its practices. COVID-19 has revealed the true advantages of hybrid publishers and has presented companies such as Spring Cedars with the opportunity to do what we do best: thinking outside of the box.
Created as a professional alternative to traditional publishing, independent or hybrid publishing is at the forefront of innovation. It knows how to be flexible, resilient, and sustainable. At Spring Cedars, for example, our adoption of new technologies and digital approaches has proven to be successful in light of the dramatic increase in ebook sales and recent domination of print on demand. Virtual events and social media are also becoming essential in the publishing process. Additionally, many hybrid publishers are already accustomed to working from home and have not had to deal with employment and workplace issues.
A hybrid publishing model emphasizes the importance of authors participating in their own promotion. A strong author platform is crucial as it builds greater networks. Through the pandemic, we have seen that authors themselves are indeed one of the best marketing assets, especially during a time when people are eager for connection. Author-centric publishers who are committed to supporting and guiding their clients in addition to focusing on their mission as opposed to economics and profit, are seeing more success.
Storytelling and reading are still critical, and as a result of the pandemic, hunger for new content and ways to connect is greater than ever. While COVID-19 has severely impacted the publishing industry, in these times we must remain optimistic and capitalize on new opportunities that arise.
If you would like to learn more about hybrid publishing, contact Spring Cedars.