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Leading Publishing Trends for 2024 - 2026

Leading Publishing Trends for 2024 - 2026

In the United States, the publishing business brings in about $28 billion annually. The industry has seen some significant changes, despite the fact that that figure has remained unchanged for the previous four years. (For instance, the development of digital technologies, audiobooks, and ebooks.) Which trends will matter most in the upcoming years as consumers and publishers modify their expectations?

Discover here 10 of the major publishing trends for 2024–2026.

Increasing Interest in E-books and Audiobooks

The market for print books has declined throughout the past ten years. But the demand for audiobooks and ebooks has increased dramatically. 25% of adults read an e-book in 2019, despite the fact that print books are still the most popular book format (65% of readers did so in 2019). And in the past year, 20% of US consumers listened to an audiobook.

According to industry sources, audiobook sales have increased steadily since 2012. Actually, revenue from audiobooks has increased by 14.3% in the past year.

It's interesting to note that sales of ebooks are exceeding those of audiobooks. Revenue from ebook sales exceeds $956 million. (Mostly powered by the Kindle from Amazon.)

The emergence of ebooks and audiobooks presents an unexplored prospect for numerous independent writers.

Political Books Continue to Be Popular

Books about politics have been very popular in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue until 2024. Former President Barack Obama's third book, A Promised Land, sold 3.3 million copies in the US in its first month of publication. Publishing experts predict that sales of the book will rise even higher than those of other recent presidential memoirs, such as Bill Clinton's My Life and George W. Bush's Decision Points, which together sold between 3.5 and 4 million copies. Obama's book is the first of two planned volumes; the second book's release date is not yet known.

Books about Donald Trump are also, of course, incredibly popular. The top 12 Trump-related books had sold over 3.1 million hard copies as of December 2020. We have already seen a sneak peek of what the Biden/Harris administration's consumer demand would entail.

Following the 2020 election, Kamala Harris was the subject of four of the top ten best-selling books on Amazon. Early in 2021, the first book examining her political career in detail was published. Kamala's Way by Simon & Schuster was published on January 12.

In the past 12 months, numerous books about President Joe Biden have also been published. Customers have enjoyed reading Biden's earlier works. Promise Me, Dad, his most recent novel, was a New York Times bestseller and sold more than 300,000 copies. Biden also earned $1.8 million from the 30-stop book tour.

Small Bookstores Continue To Dwindle 

COVID may be a barrier many of them cannot overcome; nearly 60 small bookstores closed permanently in 2020. Like many industries, mom-and-pop bookstores are unable to generate the same level of revenue they did prior to lockdowns. Publisher's Weekly reports that bookstore sales continued to decline in 2023, a drop of more than $2 billion. Local bookstores, like many small businesses, rely on holiday sales to get them to year-end in the black. Some bookstores earn up to one-third of their entire year from these sales during the final months of the year.

Many small booksellers report that despite an otherwise turbulent year, their holiday season has been a bright light. Online sales have provided a lifeline for many of these booksellers due to in-store occupancy constraints.

Additionally, eCommerce might be difficult for bookshop proprietors who lack the organizational capacity to sell online and have never done so. However, is taking over to make things easier. offers affiliate programs for small bookshops. This implies that they will receive thirty percent of the profits from sales made by customers who use the link they provide to the Bookshop business.

Bookshop handles all the shipping, returns, inventory, and packaging logistics. This kind of profit is comparable to what bookshops would earn from in-store sales. While the 2020 Black Friday weekend, Bookshop sold nearly $2.3 million in books.

Local communities are contributing to the effort to preserve the independent bookshops that they like.

More than $511k has been raised on GoFundMe by City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco and more than $246k by Seminary Co-op Bookstores in Chicago.

Libraries and Publishers at Odds

Libraries and publishers are engaged in a fierce competition as the demand for digital media rises. Libraries support unrestricted access to knowledge.

However, a lot of publishing houses are concerned that library checkouts may reduce their earnings.

For years, this fight has been simmering, and the pandemic has simply made it worse.

Book companies have already placed restrictions on how libraries can make their ebooks available to users.

A specific lifetime for an ebook, such as two years or fifty-two checkouts per ebook license, is sometimes granted to libraries. However, libraries have been paying over 3.5 times the retail price—that is, an average of $45 per ebook.

A new policy was implemented by Macmillan, one of the "big five" publishing firms, in late 2019, which limited the number of ebooks that libraries could have until the ebook had been available for two months.

Macmillan allegedly intended to exploit this strategy to see if they could drive more sales, given that they report that libraries account for 45% of their ebook readings.

Nevertheless, the policy was short-lived. When COVID struck, the publisher changed its ways in response to library protests.

More Platforms for Book Summaries Arise

An increasing number of websites and services are available that are intended to condense the content of nonfiction books.

With 23 million users, Berlin-based firm Blinkist is among the front-runners in this rapidly expanding market.

Books are condensed by Blinkist into text and audio summaries they refer to as "blinks."

Furthermore, the business has already raised $34.8 million in venture capital.

MentorBox is another startup in this field.

Technology Turns Into A Benefit

In 2024 and beyond, technology will play a major role in bringing about change in the book publishing sector.

The use of artificial intelligence by publishers to produce books is one unexpected method.

AI is already being used by a lot of internet publishers to create articles. However, AI currently finds it difficult to produce engaging fiction.

"AI is not ready to write a best-seller yet, [but] it is a powerful tool that can improve stories and increase audience engagement," stated the USC Annenberg Relevance Report. Many people can already determine with ease that a non-human author wrote a work of fiction.

However, given that these AI systems have advanced significantly over the last several years. And it may not be long before we see AI write fiction that's much less robotic.

AI is also used by book publishers for other purposes. They are using technology for marketing books, acquisitions, plagiarism detection, and content classification. In the publishing industry, internet marketing and promotion offer what seems like an infinite number of chances.

Publishers are analyzing customer behavior and data like never before, first chapters are being read on live social media feeds, and virtual literary events are drawing crowds of over 500,000 people.

There are almost 15 million posts on Instagram with the hashtag #bookstagrammer, proving that the trend is real.

Publishing Consolidates Giants

The "big six" controlled the publishing business at the beginning of the new millennium. The only big publishers were Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin, HarperCollins, Random House, and Simon & Schuster.

In 2012, these six titles made up half of all books sold in the United States.

The industry is now controlled by the "big five" following the merger of Random House and Penguin in 2013.

According to statistics, in 2021, these five publishers sold 80% of all books.

Penguin Random House (PRH) declared in 2021 that it will acquire Simon & Schuster for a sum over $2 billion. This implies that there will only be four significant companies in the market, further consolidating publishing power in the hands of a small number of firms.

Penguin Random House was the largest publisher in the US prior to this merger.

With the two companies together, one publisher is now responsible for 34% of annual book sales.

The merger has drawn harsh criticism from the Authors Guild. They forecast that this imbalance in the publishing sector will hinder authors' ability to negotiate contracts, lower the level of competition for manuscripts, and lower cash advances.

Growing Demands for Diversity

The Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) examined and disseminated data on the diversity of the children's and young adult books it received in 2019.

Almost 42% of the 3,700 books they examined featured at least one main character who was Caucasian.

However, the main character in 36% of the works was a person of a different race. It's interesting to note that 29% of main characters were animals or other types.

Since 2002, Diverse BookFinder, a different group, has examined over 3,000 children's books.

According to their statistics, only 29% of books have a black character, and the majority of these works are biographies or discuss oppression and resiliency. Furthermore, polls conducted recently have revealed a dearth of diversity among publishing business employees.

Books by Lee & Lowreports that 76% are white and 74% are women.

These stats from 2019 are incredibly similar to the results from their 2015 survey. These kinds of statistics have prompted many in the publishing industry to demand greater diversity in writers, characters, and publishing executives.

#weneeddiversebooks is a hashtag used by many on social media to raise awareness of the problem.

On Instagram, there are more than 280,000 posts using the hashtag.

Authors discussed the worth of their book advances on Twitter by using the hashtag. It became evident that white writers received more generous contracts than black writers.

Following the hashtag's widespread use, The New York Times examined over 7,000 books. They discovered that Caucasian authors authored 95% of the novels.

Publishing houses have address focused on acquiring books by Latinx and BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color).ed the criticism by, among other things, employing editors expressly.

A few publishers have also contributed to anti-racism organizations and developed inclusiveness initiatives.

The drive toward diversity in publishing may continue or it may fade.

Author Dr. Anamik Saha stated, "It's too soon to tell if this is just a passing fad or if the deep examination of racism that #BLM has sparked will result in significant change. In any case, the publishing sector needs to understand that there are multiple audiences.

 Writers Invest Totally In Digital Marketing

With their audience, authors and publishers hope to establish enduring, long-lasting ties.

This kind of engaged customer is more likely to purchase books in the future.

Accordingly, email marketing is one of the most popular ways to sell books in 2024.

According to a publishing expert, email has a 100x higher impact on book sales than social networking.

To subscribers on their email lists, several authors offer free stories. Some even offer paid material as a way to monetize email subscribers.

More than 20 best-selling books have been authored by author Seth Godin. He markets to and interacts with his audience through a daily email. Plus, his blog, which has more than 7,000 items, posts the contents of his emails every day. Despite the fact that email marketing is a viable trend that appears to be here to stay, writers are also experimenting with social media book promotion.

For many, posting on the relatively new TikTok platform has become a legitimate marketing tactic.

The popular #BookTok has over 200 billion video views. The beauty of #BookTok is that the marketing content is user-generated. Instead of the authors talking about their own books, it’s actual readers recommending books, giving summaries, or crying after the emotional ending of a book.

We Were Liars, a 2014 book, was the subject of a TikTok video that received 5.5 million views, demonstrating the extent of the trend.

In the summer of 2020, the book even made a reappearance on the bestseller list.

According to the head of marketing at Random House Children's Books, he markets books in conjunction with almost 100 TikTok users.

A successful new marketing concept that gained popularity during the pandemic is hosting virtual author events.

The success, affordability, and accessibility of these events have ensured their continued existence in 2024, despite the end of the pandemic.

In conclusion

the publishing industry has always had to adjust to shifting circumstances. Still, the fastest (and most disruptive) changes to date have probably occurred in the previous few years. comprising several novel opportunities (audiobooks) and threats (podcasts).

In any case, it will be interesting to watch how these tendencies in the publishing sector develop over the coming years.