Publishing Houses and Book Marketing During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic led to major changes in the activity of publishing houses in Israel, heavily impacting the way in which books were sold and marketed. The closure of book stores and libraries and the spike in online book sales affected retailers, authors and publishing firms.
With the forced closure of book stores across the country, platforms selling and distributing books online thrived. Many authors who were able to complete writing were forced to delay distribution of their books to 2021. On the other hand, the major commercial publishing firms were able to maintain publishing figures similar to previous years, though even these companies saw a certain decrease in overall figures.
Unsurprisingly, the smaller publishing houses and research institutions were the most heavily impacted by the pandemic. Many private individuals, significantly more than in previous years, sought to raise money to publish and distribute their own books using crowd-funding options. Most of these individuals uploaded their books to online digital platforms.
According to the Director General of the National Library of Israel, Oren Weinberg, the productive relationship maintained by the National Library and the various publishing firms in Israel allows the Library to consistently improve its ability to study, assess and enable access to the information provided by these firms.
"By analyzing the changes and trends in the realm of book publishing, we can trace different patterns in Israeli culture and society, especially those which emerge in unusual years, such as 'The Year of COVID-19'. For example, this year we can see a very large increase in the publishing figures of the prose and poetry genres as well as dramatic increases in the numbers of digital and audio books, alongside a drop in non-fiction books. These phenomena, as well as societal and technological trends such as easier access to printing resources, the influence of streaming platforms, the internet and television as forces shaping identity and culture, the price of books – all of these represent fertile ground for research and study, underlining and emphasizing the fascinating information which can be found in the annual book report", Weinberg said.