Read at PublishersWeekly.com
Publishers are still grappling with the aftermath of the pandemic, particularly in terms of inflation, rising costs, and declining school and library sales. Despite supply chain issues being resolved, paper and shipping costs continue to impact profit margins. Some speculate that the decline in sales is related to book bans and restrictive legislation. This is concerning for the middle-grade market, as school and library sales are crucial for creating lifelong readers. However, remote work has had a positive impact on connectivity among colleagues and authors in the publishing industry.
"Flat is the new up," jokes John Mendelson, president of Nosy Crow. "Every book has to earn its place."
"We are continuing to see soft sales in the library and educational wholesale markets," says Anita Eerdmans, president and publisher of Eerdmans Publishing. "We are seeing the largest sales declines in the K-6 school library market." Molly Ker Hawn at the Bent Agency expresses concern about the impact of declining school and library sales on the middle-grade ecosystem, as it is crucial for creating readers who continue to buy books as teenagers and adults. Andrew Karre, executive editor at Dutton Books for Young Readers, highlights the positive residual effect of remote work, as it has increased connectivity within the publishing industry.
"The drop in school and library sales, thanks to book challenges and restrictive local and state-level legislation, makes me really concerned about the whole middle grade ecosystem," says Molly Ker Hawn at the Bent Agency. "Not just because I want those books to sell well for the sake of selling well, but because the school and library market is crucial for creating readers who grow up to read-and buy books-as teenagers and adults."