The Book Release Bottleneck

The ripple effects of the pandemic have reached every aspect of the world, leaving no industry untouched. Whether allowing it to thrive like many online services or sending it into bankruptcy like so many small businesses, it has changed the ability of many industries to deliver products the way they used to. Entertainment has not escaped the pandemic’s grasp, leaving every kind of creative field in some kind of disarray. Could the work of some artists, such as writers, have only sustained minimal damage in all the chaos? 

When pondering the current state of the writing and publishing world, it might first appear that it has remained rather unscathed. After all, isn’t writing more of a socially distant task? And surely an abundance of great works are being written everyday during quarantine!  

I would conclude that there must be and that the authors are grateful for the time to work so we can see their masterpieces one day. But one aspect of publication that typically isn’t considered is what comes after the paperwork is signed and edits are finished. Printing, distribution, and sales come next which are not such easy tasks to complete in any kind of isolation. Authors cannot advertise through events like book signings, tours, or interactions with fans. The results of restrictions and job loss have also placed an obstacle in the way of distributing books and ultimately create a bottleneck effect. 

This along with the fact that book retailers are not considered essential businesses means that small time book stores that were forced to close for the pandemic might ultimately close their doors forever. While they struggle to keep their businesses afloat, Amazon and other large companies managed to boost their sales and clientele. The combined effect of being classified nonessential while crushed underfoot by Amazon could leave us without our beloved book stores and less books when we so crave them. 

Speaking from the perspective of an avid reader, consumers are dying for entertainment and new literature more than usual. Yet while we pine for something to keep us busy, we can be comforted by the fact that the only difference we might notice during this time is less in person access to bookstores and a slightly longer wait for our next read. And in the meantime, that sequel or highly anticipated new novel might just be in the works this very moment.  

When the dangers of the pandemic have passed and quarantine has lifted, a true explosion of the arts will follow and the bookworms of the world will be able to peruse shelves full of new releases. Just be sure to show your local bookstores love and support so we get to enjoy them once more when the time is right!