Fall is now crowded for book publishers. It could be a problem.


The University of Chicago Press has postponed 18 titles from its spring programming to September. “Our thought was that between the temporary bookstores shutdown and the distracted state of the media and the consumer market, they would have a better chance of reaching large audiences this way,” said Elizabeth Branch Dyson, editor at head of the press.

Other editors have been hesitant to reschedule release dates as there’s no guarantee things will get better in the fall. Even if more bookstores reopen, customers could still be wary and the economic fallout could worsen.

“Where are you going to move a book?” Are you going to move it to the fall, where you have the election and all those spring books that have moved? Said Morgan Entrekin, publisher and general manager of Grove Atlantic, which only reported a few titles. “All the decisions we make are guesswork. None of us know what we are doing.

For authors with a large international audience, changing a release date becomes even more complicated.

When Europa Editions decided to postpone the publication of Ferrante’s novel “The lying life of adults” from June to September, it hastened to hire some twenty international publishers. Europa had already printed 150,000 copies of Ann Goldstein’s English translation, and fans of Ms Ferrante’s “My Brilliant Friend” books would probably have relished the chance to read her latest while sheltering in place. But its publisher decided not to publish the novel while many independent stores are still closed.

“It was as if it would have been a betrayal of the booksellers who have done so much for her,” said Michael Reynolds, editor-in-chief of Europa.

Despite widespread bookstore closures, book sales have not exploded. Print sales so far this year are flat compared to the same time last year, suggesting readers are still buying, according to NPD BookScan.

Well-known writers, like Suzanne Collins, author of “The Hunger Games”, as well as John Grisham and Stephen King, are going through the crisis, as their fans grab hold of their books and can often find them in large stores. surface that remained open.


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