Ebook sales and online print book orders soaring as educational books get big lift in lockdown

Ebook sales have risen significantly during the current coronavirus lockdown while print book sales initially fell as bookshops closed but online print orders to bookshops have since experienced a sharp increase.

Leading ebook distributor PublishDrive has seen a 10-15% growth in ebook sales data. The company is a very wide distributor with channels to more than 400 online stores worldwide, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple Books, plus 120,000 digital libraries.

PublishDrive says authors can continue to upload, distribute, promote, and sell books in the same way as normal and there shouldn’t be any delay in support or promotional services either.

Bricks and mortar bookstores in the US and the UK have closed in recent weeks but they are now redeploying staff to deal with a surge in online orders. Waterstones in the UK is reckoned to have seen online sales increase by fourfold.

Legendary UK bookshop Foyles says it has seen a huge increase in online orders and its warehouse is working extremely hard to make sure orders are picked, packed and sent as swiftly as possible. It adds that due to the sheer scale of the operation there may be small delays to orders arriving.

In the US, Powell’s, ‘the world’s largest independent bookstore’, is experiencing significant delays of 7-14 days in order processing due to a backlog of orders and safe-distancing measures at its warehouse.

Barnes & Noble says its fulfillment centers are fully operational and are working incredibly hard to process all orders. Due to these exceptional circumstances, delivery times for orders placed on BN.com may be a little slower than normal.

B&N is offering free curbside pickup for online orders. You place your online order as normal and use the Free Store Pickup option on the product page or in your cart and complete checkout. B&N will then message you when your order is ready for pick-up. When you park, let the store know you’re there for curbside pickup. Give your name, order number and make/model of your vehicle and a member of staff will bring your order to you.

San Francisco’s Green Apple Books is offering a selection of clothing with the motto, Stay Home Read A Book.

Amazon’s non-fiction book sales charts are showing a big switch from the norm. In the UK, where all schools are closed, children’s educational books are dominating the Most Sold chart, taking nine of the top 10 places, with Year 1 Maths Targeted Practice Workbook taking the No 1 spot.

Books with more adult concerns are also selling well, with Five-Minute Mum (easy, fun games and activities for kids) and Feed Your Family for £20 a Week both getting Unputdownable accolades from Amazon for being the books that are finished faster than similar books.

Another couple of adult books appearing in the top 20 this week are My Passive Income Blueprint audiobook and A Swear Word Coloring Book for Adults.

On the US Amazon Charts, there are seven children’s books in the top 20 Most Sold non-fiction, including six educational textbooks plus The Big Book of Silly Jokes for Kids.

The chart also includes End of Days by psychic Sylvia Browne (predictions and prophecies),  and The Great Influenza by John M Barry, originally published in 2004, and detailing the flu pandemic of 1918.


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