The COVID-19 pandemic is changing our world. Some of these changes will be long-term while others will cease once the pandemic is past. It is difficult to determine which changes will last and which won’t.
Many experts predict that many changes will be long-term. These long-term changes will transform the book marketing and selling landscape.
Following are some of the changes that experts predict will be long-term. Since we are not God—who sees the beginning to the end—we are left to guess. I, for one, am hoping that not all these predictions will be true long-term.
1. Working from home will continue.
As many companies see the cost-saving without a loss of productivity from their workers, many will move to a new model of work from home.
2. Print book sales to schools and universities will become obsolete.
As more institutions move to online learning models, fewer will host print books in their classrooms and libraries. Learning will become increasingly digital, including both textbooks and supplemental reading material.
3. Large conventions and conferences will become a thing of the past.
With fears of spreading viruses, large conventions and conferences will become virtual events. Smaller venues may still be held in-person. This will leave fewer avenues—think book fairs, writers’ conferences, trade shows—for authors to promote their books in person.
Many experts predict that moving forward, events will be hybrid—meaning they will feature both in-person and online participation options. Hybrid events will broaden conferences’ ability to widen their reach by integrating virtual attendees with physical attendees.
For authors who specialize in speaking engagements to earn money and sell books, this will signal a big change. With virtual events, speaking engagements will be virtual, which means fewer impulse book buyers at the end of your talk.
4. Physical bookstores will continue to decline in number.
Over 50% of books were purchased online before the pandemic. When COVID-19 hit, the majority of book sales moved online. Bookstores will have difficulty recovering and the new online book buying habit may stick, meaning fewer bookstores will survive in the new economy.
Fewer bookstores signal fewer venues for authors to host events such as book signings, book readings, and book launches.
In a nutshell, experts predict that the nature of our interactions will become increasingly more virtual. I think that it is harder to connect with people in a virtual setting. There is something to rubbing shoulders and physical connection that is lost in the virtual world.
Moving forward, those authors who embrace virtual interactions and conferences will be the most successful at marketing and selling their books.
I would love to hear from you. Which changes do you think will last?
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Photo courtesy of Anna Schvets.