During the pandemic there was a notable increase in print sales of books, 8% in 2020 and 9% in 2021, respectfully.
According to Kristen McLean, executive director for NPD/BookScan Books Group, it’s unlikely that unit sales of print books will continue to expand in 2022, as reported by The Passive Voice (April 3 2022). McLean shared that the larger sale increases that were seen in 2020 and 2021, were unmatched in BookScan’s 18-year history, and were a byproduct of the unique circumstances of the pandemic; people were reading more books to pass the time, while in lockdown.
She doesn’t think print sales in 2022 will completely fissile out, but she noted that the industry should be aware that there could be negative sales figures in the first and second quarters of 2022, in comparison to the same time frames in 2021. McLean estimates that print unit sales in 2022 will be less than 2021 levels, but likely, above those of 2019, and possibly 2020.
Some of the potential barriers are higher shipping costs due to high fuel costs, increases in manufacturing costs, and supply chain problems; such as possible paper shortages. These challenges, in addition to the easing of pandemic restrictions, may lead to changes in consumer behaviors and buying patterns. McLean noted that the industry will need to keep an eye on consumers’ reaction to any price increases carefully.
She also thinks that if some titles become trickier to find this year due to supply chain problems, there could be an increase in customer interest in used books, e-books, as well as increased interest in borrowing from a library.
On a more positive note, McLean sees an increase in customer traffic at bricks-and-mortar stores, and that retailers, through tweaks in marketing and store layouts, are well positioned to take advantage of the higher traffic volume. In addition, there were a number of innovative trends that occurred during 2021 that are very likely to continue to grow in 2022, such as the booming impact of the BookTok video trend driving sales.
An avid book reader, Angela Waterfield is new to the world of e-Readers. She has a background in education, emergency response, and fitness, and loves to be outside. She has contributed writing to The London Free Press, The Gazette, The Londoner, Lifeliner, and Citymedia.ca.