Who would have thought that, in a matter of two years, the world would change so much because of an airborne microscopic organism? No one, I dare say, as Heraclitus’ saying goes, “the only thing constant is change”, and with change comes opportunity. In an article published last January, I reflected on the outlook for 2021. There were at least two themes in which this analysis was fulfilled: 1) The growth of e-book marketing channels and, in addition, 2) the extension of the digital offer through retail sales, streaming, digital libraries, podcasts, e-commerce, hybrid book fairs, etc. In this text, I would like to refer to the data that support those premises.
In its report Mexican Publishing Industry: Private Sector (2020-2021), the National Chamber of the Mexican Publishing Industry (Caniem, 2021) provides relevant figures around the sale of e-books in Mexico during 2020:
- The sale of e-books increased 58% with respect to 2019, with a turnover of 368 million pesos.
- The sale of titles online grew 96%, contrary to the negative trend of other marketing channels (government, bookstores, schools, self-service, book fairs), which show an average decrease of 50%.
- The reading population over 18 years of age increased two points, that is, from 41% in 2020 to 43% in 2021; meanwhile, digital readers increased 175%, from 12.3% in 2020 to 21.5% in 2021 (Inegi, 2021).
This rise in e-books in Mexico is in line with a global trend driven by COVID-19. Thus, in 2020, digital books in Spanish grew 37% worldwide and 43% in Spain (Libranda, 2020). Moreover, in the United States, from January to July 2021, audiobook consumption increased 16.4% compared to the same period in 2020, resulting in revenues of 440 million dollars.
In short, the world is experiencing a period of economic recovery that is reflected, among other things, in digital books. Today, streaming is setting the tone for cultural and entertainment consumption, and that is where the global publishing industry is pushing to gain ground and expand its offerings. Not for nothing, a little less than a month ago, Spotify announced the purchase of Findaway, a company that distributes audiobooks (Forbes, 2021).
If there is one thing we have learned over the past two years, it is that authors and publishers need to provide a wider digital offer to readers and, above all, at the click of a button.
Faster than ever, thanks to vaccines and the desire to regain what has been lost due to confinement, the publishing industry intends to consolidate its position through the digital book. If there is one thing we have learned over the past two years, it is that authors and publishers need to provide a wider digital offer to readers and, especially, at the click of a button.
As the old saying goes: “When one door closes, another opens.” The pandemic greatly complicated the sale of physical books, but forced all players in the chain to familiarize themselves with the digital format. In the years to come, it will be everyone’s responsibility to strengthen and increase what has already been achieved. But we’ll see about that later.
Our team here at Ink it wishes you happy holidays and a wonderful New Year!