In 2020, against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic in Russia, book sales on the Internet increased significantly.
As RT was told in the book service "Liters", from January to December, the demand for digital publications in the country grew by almost 50% in monetary terms, and for audiobooks - by more than 40%.
“Digital literature, especially during quarantine, acted as a support and an airbag for publishing houses.
At the same time, the period of self-isolation contributed to the growth of the audience even after the restrictions were lifted, "said Sergey Anuryev, general director of the Litres group of companies, in a conversation with RT.
According to him, Russians most often bought electronic and audio books on self-development and personal growth, as well as romance novels and fantasy.
In addition, works on psychology, business, history, as well as classical literature were highly popular.
“The leaders in downloading books are residents of Moscow and the Moscow region.
Readers from St. Petersburg took the second place, and Krasnodar closes the top three.
The top ten also includes: Novosibirsk, Kazan, Samara, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, ”added Anuryev.
In addition to the impact of the pandemic, the high demand for the digital format of literature is associated with the economic factor, says Konstantin Deinekin, director of the Synergy Book publishing house.
According to him, today paper editions are much more expensive than electronic and audio versions.
“If 25 years ago printed books were the only way to read a work, now they are gradually becoming a subject of value for gourmets who are willing to pay more for the ability to hold a paper copy in their hands,” added Deinekin.
However, sales of paper books in Russia via the Internet also increased significantly during the pandemic.
Online store Ozon recently estimated that book orders increased 42% in the first nine months of 2020 over the same period in 2019.
“Demand peaked during the toughest months of isolation - April and May.
During this time, unit sales of books grew 56% year over year.
In summer, demand stabilized, and in October it began to grow again.
Already in December, sales in pieces were 27% higher than in November - obviously, Russians chose books, including as a gift for the New Year, "Nikolai Yermishin, head of the Books department at Ozon, told RT.
© Vladimir Astapkovich
It should be noted that the growth of online book sales made it possible to partially contain the losses of publishers and offline stores.
As a result of the consequences of the coronavirus, by the end of 2020, the volume of book retail in the country decreased by 9 billion rubles - to 37.5 billion. Such calculations were made by specialists of the Russian Book Union (RKS).
"Against the background of restrictions, most bookstores did not work for several months, but even after their opening, customer traffic did not recover to its previous level, but decreased by 20-25% across the country," Evgeny Kapiev, chairman of the RCC international cooperation committee, told RT.
According to him, the further development of the offline book market will largely depend on the epidemiological situation in Russia.
Unless new restrictions are imposed on bookstore operations, the industry will gradually recover.
As a result, the market will be able to return to pre-crisis indicators in two or three years, Kapiev said.
At the same time, online book sales will continue to grow steadily in the coming years.
This opinion is shared by Natalia Milchakova, deputy head of the Alpari Information and Analytical Center.
“In 2020, about 77% of consumers purchased goods via the Internet at least twice a month, and 23% - at least once a week.
The pandemic and related restrictions have led Russians to gradually get used to shopping on online sites, including books.
It is convenient, takes less time, and sometimes comes out cheaper due to stock from the supplier, ”the analyst explained.
According to RKS experts, first of all, high growth rates will be demonstrated by the demand for digital formats.
According to the organization's forecast, in 2021, sales of electronic publications may increase by 30-35%.
In turn, purchases of audiobooks can grow by 70% at once.