5 Publishing Predictions for 2022

2021 was a record-setting year for the publishing industry–many publishers saw some of the best years they’ve ever had in sales. So what’s ahead for us in 2022? Read on for our industry predictions, and let us know what you think is the next trend for publishing.

Prediction: Supply chain issues will continue, and prices might increase.

Sources at independent presses have told us that it is currently more cost-efficient to print books overseas than it is to print domestically–and that includes factoring in the transportation and freight costs to get books back stateside. Supply issues remain, from paper shortages to increased printing and paper costs. With these increased expenses, some publishers might consider raising the prices on their books. Fortunately, the increase won’t be too drastic for the consumer, as you may see the average cost of a book go up by a $1 here and there. As a positive result of these issues, which also include limits on first print runs, we’ll see more support for second-hand books as well as library lending. We could also see more publishers developing strategies to sell their titles D2C.

Prediction: Unit sales will drop in 2022.

According to Publishers Weekly, book unit sales increased by 8 percent in 2022 and 9 percent in 2021. With such massive growth, it is unlikely for unit sales to keep up with that momentum this year. Kristen McLean, executive director and industry analyst for NPD/BookScan Books Group, said the repeated sales gains in 2020 and 2021 was unprecedented in BookScan’s 18-year history. She said it was fueled by unique circumstances, including the pandemic and stay-at-home orders as well as the growth in interest in social justice titles after the murder of George Floyd. Overall, sales will remain strong this year, but are not likely to keep up with the last two years.

Prediction: Audio books will grow in popularity.

While ebook sales have generally been consistent, revenue decreased by 4.7 percent in 2021 over the previous year (2020). Audiobooks had a year of major growth in the double-digits (13.4 percent), and with the continued supply chain issues, readers may turn to listening to more bestsellers in 2022. We expect audiobook sales to increase this year, both overall and as a percentage of a book’s sales. Authors could see a greater percentage of their sales come from audiobooks. Are audiobooks on track to surpass ebooks in the next couple years? We will see! Our marketing suggestion? Authors, especially self-published authors, should have their book available in every format possible.

Prediction: Community support for local bookstores will increase.

Amazon is closing its book retail stores, now understanding the challenges facing brick and mortar stores. That said, consumers are eager to get back out and support their local mom-and-pop businesses, including independent bookstores. During the pandemic, many local bookstores had to pivot their business models to support more online sales, shipping, and virtual events. While we’re eager to get back to in-person signings and readings, virtual events will remain. Physical bookstores are noting the best of what’s been working for them throughout the last two years and they will continue to strengthen their business in ways that resonate with consumers.

Prediction: Continued growth in Manga.

According to NPD, U.S. Manga sales are up $218 million year-over-year, driven by new anime fans crossing over from streaming video platforms. Popular shows include Yu-Gi-Oh!, Violet Evergarden, Sailor Moon, Naruto and much more. That growth will continue, as publishers tap into this market. Two new books any anime fan should check out include The Magical Girl’s Guide to Life and The Unofficial Studio Ghibli Cookbook.

Tell us, do you agree or disagree with these predictions? And what are your publishing predictions for the year? Let us know what you think!

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