As Albert Einstein once said: in times of crisis, only imagination is more important than knowledge.
Undoubtedly, 2020 was an atypical and complex year that will surely go down in history. The so-called «new normal», which is the offspring of the confinement induced by COVID-19, not only has come here to stay, but also to accelerate the digitization of our lives in general and of book industry in particular: teleworking, video calls, delivery and e-commerce everywhere (I fear the day when we follow the steps of Theodore, the protagonist of Her, who falls in love with an operating system: Samantha) Considering the features of the current global scenario, the publishing industry should not forget the main lesson that 2020 taught us: It is necessary to create, maintain, and improve digital channels and products intended for book marketing.
Let’s remember that in March 2020, when suspension of activities took effect in cities all over the world, bookstores had to close their doors. Consequently, many publishers who did not have digital titles or online sales channels rushed to enter the virtual market because, in the end, e-books and e-commerce were the only reliable options. In contrast, for those already acquainted with the e-book universe, the change was easier to embrace, and had only to focus their efforts on marketing and distribution.
Moreover, the outcome of the pandemic in various countries has led to intermittent closures of businesses, returning again to confinement, and, especially, to a generalized perception of public spaces as risky places. Consequently, it is essential to «think digital» and adjust to the new times in which consumers demand that products to be just a click away. When facing these circumstances, the task of publishers is to diversify their income in a vast market that offers both, retail and streaming sales, digital libraries and e-commerce, e-book and audiobook formats, podcasts, workshops, private lectures and conferences, etc.
To paraphrase the science fiction classic starring Charlton Heston, destiny has caught up with us (oh, by the way, that story takes place in 2022). As a result, publishers must closely follow a market and a global situation that is reinventing our industry, lifestyles, consumer practices, social relations, and a long etcetera. Today, more than ever, our ability to adapt is the key to succeed in an ever changing environment.