To add to the strain there has been an unexpected spike in demand for print books with unit sales up 5% comparing 2020 to 2019 to date. Comparing the most recent 10 weeks of 2020 to the same period in 2019, print sales up are 12% driven by the demand for blockbuster titles including new books by Suzanne Collins and Stephanie Meyer and various books on Trump; plus increased demand for older titles on race and children’s educational books.
The issue is impacting reprints of existing books and schedules for new releases–a number of which are moving at very short notice to later seasons. For example, Knopf and Pantheon are shifting the release of more than a dozen fall titles, including a memoir by the cookbook author Deborah Madison and a biography of Sylvia Plath. Also fiction by Robert Harris, Martin Amis, Jo Nesbo, Alexander McCall Smith and Tom Bissell.