Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Book Sales: The Trump Effect
Yesterday I read an article that left me thinking about politics and book sales. In "Is Trump Ruining Book Sales?" the author, Morgan Jerkins, makes several observations about what I'll call the Trump Effect. One author cited claims that any books that aren't political and/or dystopian aren't really selling "in a world where reality has become stranger than fiction." Politics has become mass entertainment that's so compelling mere books have a hard time competing.
The US political spectacle has affected me both a reader and a writer--and I'm neither American nor resident in the US. Since the nonstop circus began, I have had to force myself to pick up a novel every now and then when the anxiety about my non-reading hits hard. I've always been a voracious reader but now I spend my reading time on online articles. When I do pick up a book it's usually nonfiction. I'm trying to avoid political articles but the lure is strong. However--and this is where things get really interesting--I'm finding that my book sales are better than ever before. I've gotten a royalty check every month since January 2016, and since January 2017 those royalties have been substantial enough to make a difference to my budget. It seems escapist genres, at least, are doing quite well despite the overall decline in sales.
Apart from the verifiable claim that overall book sales are in decline, the article is short on hard data, so I'll do an informal survey here. Has the ongoing political saga made a difference to your reading habits? And if you're a writer, have you noticed any difference in your sales? Enquiring minds want to know.