The Publishing Industry Is Still Waiting for the New Normal (

The publishing industry made it through 2020 in much better shape than most thought it would when the pandemic first emerged nearly two years ago. Though there were many challenges and some companies and segments of the industry struggled, most companies had good financial years, and overall industry sales were unexpectedly robust in 2020. With the hope that the negative effects of Covid-19 would ease in 2021, most industry members expected that the business would settle into something of a new normal last year. But that was not to be the case. The biggest story of 2021 was the ongoing impact the pandemic had on the industry.

Virtual author tours, conferences, and fairs became standard practices in 2020, but there was hope that 2021 would eventually bring a return to in-person events—for the most part, however, those ideas were thwarted. During the summer, bookstores slowly began experimenting with live author appearances, usually held outdoors or in limited numbers indoors with masked customers. But as colder weather set in and different variants sprang up, in-person tours largely ended, and there’s no certainty among the industry regarding when they might return in a significant way.
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