Cambria Book Matters - May 2024

Cambria Book Matters - May 2024

This issue: Do people buy books anymore? Articles, Reviews and Comment on books, publishing and writing.

3 min read

Articles, Reviews and Comment on books, publishing and writing.


There's much discussion at the moment on the future of books; particularly print paperbacks. This is due to the huge increases in paper (x3), production (30%+) and distribution costs (30%+) as well as the recent sudden demise of a major independent small press distributor in the US. For UK publishers, BREXIT has been a disaster, making it uneconomic to sell books in Europe.

We know that people still read books and still buy books but it is the second-hand market that is booming. Why buy new when there are millions of books available for pennies? This may be so and this has been the case for decades, but what is new(ish) is the relative unaffordability of new print books; due to the aforementioned cost increases, compounded by inflexible bookstore markups and cost of living increases.

The prediction is that all trade books will be digital (eBooks) in the next 2-3 years with 'print runs' non-existent and everything print-on-demand POD (which is almost 80% nowadays, in any case, even for the big five publishers). There will still be printed books but these will be expensive special high value limited editions for collectors, event sales and specialised markets.

It's not just the publishers who are asking the question - when was the last time you went in a bookshop and bought an actual book? It's the retail bookshops.

Big changes are happening. The challenge for publishers, big and small, is to get authors and new writing to readers and audiences using digital channels and still make a profit and still afford 'royalties'. It's going to be competitive!

See below for links to important articles on this topic.

No one buys books
Everything we learned about the publishing industry from Penguin vs. DOJ.
Notebook: Books Are Dead! Long Live Books!
by Ann Kjellberg, editor Yes people buy books, but that doesn’t mean the system is working
List: Writing Advice | Curated by Cambria Stories | Medium
29 stories


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