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Source: The Economist
Published: November 2020

The Resurgence of Old Books

The Resurgence of Old Books

The COVID-19 pandemic left consumers with more alone time than ever. Many turned to books. 

Two trends emerged:

  1. Book sales rose sharply: print sales rose 7% while e-book and audiobook sales grew by more than 10%.
  2. Readers often chose older books. Sales attributable to the backlist (books published more than twelve months ago) rose from 64% to 68% of the market.

Year: 2005
US Books Sales, % Backlist: 51%
US Books Sales, % Frontlist: 49%

Year: 2010
US Books Sales, % Backlist: 54%
US Books Sales, % Frontlist: 46%

Year: 2015
US Books Sales, % Backlist: 58%
US Books Sales, % Frontlist: 42%

Year: 2020
US Books Sales, % Backlist: 68%
US Books Sales, % Frontlist: 32%

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