After a record year in 2020 – during which book sales grew 7.8% to $1.25 billion, Australia’s book market experienced more modest growth of 2.5% in 2021.
The publishing industry has seen several significant changes in the past few years – from a reader shift to audiobooks and ebooks to supply chain issues and wholesale changes to retail distribution models.
Here, we look at six trends shaping the publishing industry in 2022 and beyond.
- Readers still love paper books
In 2022, traditional print is still the most popular reading format for both adults and children across all generations. Ebook sales trail physical book sales globally – a trend that was reinforced during the COVID-19 pandemic. A Statista study found that 41.2% of Australians purchased a printed book in 2020, compared with just 15.9% of readers who opted for an ebook.
- Book prices will increase
Inflation has caused an increase in the price of consumables like paper and printing materials, as well as the cost of labour. This means the cost of producing books has risen. The pandemic also sparked global supply chain issues for the print publishing sector, as the soaring cost of international shipping and shipping delays made distribution increasingly challenging.
- Audiobooks continue to grow in popularity
Audiobook sales have been steadily rising for the past decade and show no signs of slowing. Audiobooks are popular because they allow us to enjoy a book while commuting, exercising, or completing mundane tasks like cleaning and laundry. And they’re also always at your fingertips via apps like Audible on your smartphone. Emerging technologies like AI narration and independent text-to-voice programs will make audiobook production easier and faster in the future.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) will have a significant impact
While artificial intelligence will never be a substitute for human creativity, it’s increasingly used by authors looking to find inspiration, brainstorm ideas and plan out their writing. The publishing industry can use AI to proofread and edit manuscripts, check for plagiarism, and more. It’s also a powerful marketing tool, allowing booksellers to target readers with online advertising and personalised emails based on their web searches and past purchases.
- Reaching younger audiences remains a challenge
Reaching Gen Z readers remains a challenge for book publishers. This generation – born between 1997 and 2012 – has no memory of a world without devices and social media. A study from Reuter’s Institute found that almost 60% of Gen Z-ers get their news from social media first! So, a social media presence, especially in video format, is essential when engaging with this generation.
The publishing industry is reinventing its marketing approach to expand its influence with younger generations, recently turning to TikTok to grow its audience. “BookTok” is a subcommunity of users on the TikTok app who post videos celebrating their love of books and reading. From authors marketing their books to professional book reviewers and everyday readers, the hashtag #BookTok has more than 46 billion views worldwide.
- Direct sales are on the rise
Savvy authors are cultivating a strong online fanbase that allows them to directly engage with their readers and drive sales via their websites and social media channels. DIY ecommerce platforms like Shopify make it easy for authors to create online stores that let readers browse their titles, add to cart and pay for their purchases with just a few clicks.
BookNet is a comprehensive bookshop management solution that gives independent and small chain bookstores the tools they need to succeed in our rapidly changing world. More than just a point-of-sale system, it integrates seamlessly with book industry tools like Titlepage and supports best-in-class inventory control, reporting and financial management.