The book publishing industry has fared surprisingly well during the pandemic. When the first lockdown was announced in spring 2020, many publishers feared the worst. Bookshops were forced to close and supply chains were disrupted, with the result that sales plummeted. But they bounced back remarkably quickly and many publishers finished the year strongly. Once again, the book business proved to be more resilient than many had thought.
The challenges posed by the pandemic are only the most recent in a long series of disruptions, threats and opportunities that have affected book publishing since the 1990s, precipitated above all by the digital revolution. Like other sectors of the media and creative industries, book publishing was particularly exposed to digital disruption. It suddenly became possible to create, transmit and consume books in new ways, freed from the constraints imposed by the physical book. This opened up a spectrum of possibilities in terms of creating new kinds of books. At one end of that spectrum