• Thomas Marin

2020 Trends in The Book Publishing World



The book publishing industry is the third biggest sector in the entertainment industry with a global value of $103 billion. It is only surpassed by the video game and tv subscription and licensing markets. The trends in this industry globally are an important part of the economy. With the rise of technology and information these industries have changed a lot in the last twenty years, the changes are so accelerated that yearly we see new trends and movements (Staff).


As of 2020, the industry has undergone notable changes in the way people read books. For starters, eBooks have been on the rise since they were introduced in the late 2000s (particularly with the Kindle in 2007). As of 2019, around 10% of the total revenue made in the industry comes from eBooks (Handley). However, there has been a recent fall in sales of eBooks in the last year (around 2% less revenue). This along with the rise of the audiobook, which is set to overtake the eBook in sales, may mean that the format has reached its pick already. The trend in audiobooks on the other hand seems related to the recent proliferation of the podcast format, which has influenced the way consumers approach entertainment. Instead of carrying a book or kindle, the “reader” can just listen through an app on his smartphone. This type of format allows for multitasking and is a lot more portable which seems to be its main appeal to the public. However, just like it happened to eBooks it is probable that audiobooks will hit a neutral ceiling in some years, which means that regular printed books will still be the most consumed by far (Perry).


Other important aspects of the market this year is that nonfiction titles continue to sell more than fiction for the sixth year in a row. The revenue from adult nonfiction is 35% larger than in adult fiction. This may be an indicator of changes in the way readers perceive and approach new books. A lot of the nonfiction best-selling books come from renowned book clubs, such as Oprah Winfrey Book Club or Reese Witherspoon Book Club, the bigger diffusion may also significantly affect the number of sales and the target of the books. The genres consumed the most however have not changed a lot, for nonfiction is still Self Help/Spiritual, Memoirs, and Political. For fiction is still Crime/Thriller, Romance/Erotica, and Science Fiction/ Fantasy. This shows that while demand is changing, genres are not (Friedman). The boom in nonfiction has been happening since 2014 when they started to sell the same as fiction and has increased a lot more since 2016. This sudden trend may be to the political circumstances of the country, nonfiction releases are mostly based on what moves the media. The fact we have a volatile political polarization has probably led to an increase in books about politics or political figures being sold.

The trends for children/ YA books are a bit different this year. There has been a change that is in tune with the trends for adults since nonfiction has been more popular this year among younger readers. The boom is not exactly in schoolbooks, it seems younger readers are interested in the same genre and topics as their adult counterparts, which include sports, history, people, and places. In YA fiction, however, the trend is Dystopian Science fiction and Horror, as it has been for a while now. Graphic novels and comics are still very rentable for most demographics, although they have better revenue among younger readers. It is worth remembering that teenagers/ young adults (12-17) are the second group of the demographics that reads the most in the US (Perry).


Regarding changes in providers, self-publishing is on the rise. Thanks to Amazon (which is the biggest provider of books worldwide) producing and distributing books directly online has never been easier. There seems to be a surplus of writers looking to publish their work, and self- publishing has become a great alternative for those who do not pass the filter of traditional publishing houses. This is good since it forces traditional firms to be more competitive and become more efficient and effective in reaching new authors and works. A lot of self-published work is going to reach audiences in the next few years, and that may mean that traditional publishers may change the way they do things as well. Maybe we will see a lot more cases like the one of “Fifty Shades of Gray” that used to be a self-published work that when turned extremely popular was picked up and published by Vintage. Companies in the industry will need to adapt again to the changes coming in the first years of this new decade (Perry).









Works Cited


Staff Writer. “The Biggest Entertainment Markets in the World.” Business Tech, 31 May. 2015, https://businesstech.co.za/news/lifestyle/88472/the-biggest-entertainment-markets-in-the-world/. Accessed 19 Ago 2020.


Handley, Lucy. “Physical Books Still Outsell eBooks.” CNBC, 19 Sep. 2019 https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/19/physical-books-still-outsell-e-books-and-heres-why.html. Accessed 19 Ago 2020.


Perry, Paul. “A Decade of Change: Publishing Industry Changes.” Submittable, 09 Dec. 2019 https://blog.submittable.com/publishing-industry-trends/. Accessed 19 Ago 2020.


Friedman, Jane. “Current Trends in Traditional Publishing.” Jane Friedman, 18 Oct. 2019 https://www.janefriedman.com/current-trends-book-publishing/. Accessed 19 Ago 2020.



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