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Predicting 2021 Publishing Trends

In last week's blog post, we talked about 2020's year in publishing. Now, let's predict what the world of books might look like for the coming year!

(Please note these are my opinions, and although they are well-researched, I can't really predict the future!)


Genres & Themes

After the intense year we've just been through, it's likely that hopeful and lighthearted stories will gain popularity.

Sci-Fi and Fantasy will remain popular as people read them as an escape from reality, but Romance was by far the biggest genre last year, and is likely to stay at the top for the foreseeable future.

Midway through this year, non-fiction sales dipped as people chose to read books for escapism rather than learning. However, as many people who have had their lives changed by the pandemic will continue attempting to find new skills or hobbies, I imagine non-fiction will see a rise in sales again.

Overall, there will be an increase in published books after a year of people having a lot of free time to write. This saturation may make it even harder for self-publishing authors to sell books. But Books + Publishing says 2021 will be a year for debut authors, with many upcoming novels by major publishing houses being firsts.

Finding and Buying Books

Finding out about books via social media, and buying them on Amazon, will likely stay at the forefront of publishing through 2021. However, as people try to support their local indie bookstores and to save them after such a hard year, we can hope they see a rise in sales.

Because social media is such a big marketing tool, authors (particularly self-published) will continue to struggle if they have no platform. Social media is changing faster than ever (just look at Instagram's new shop update), so it'll be important for authors to know their platforms well and stay up to date, posting high-quality content if they hope to compete.

I'd like to see indie booksellers stocking far more self-published books in 2021, in an effort to work with indie writers and make more sales. More partnerships like this will help indies compete with Amazon, especially as the big publishers continue struggling to compete and may end up falling under.

We should also consider Penguin's buying out of Simon & Schuster. In traditional publishing, this recent occurrence is going to be a game-changer for 2021.


Ebooks, paperbacks and hardcovers have been at odds for a long time, but none seems to have completely superseded the others. In fact, for authors, these formats work together quite well to sell books in as many places as possible.

As we continue into 2021, this is unlikely to change. However, if people are struggling with finances post-covid, they will probably turn to the cheapest option, ebooks. Therefore hardcovers, the most expensive option, will struggle. Publishers may elect to release more paperbacks, even for big new releases, in a bid to save money.

Audiobooks do, however, continue to rise in popularity as more people start reading, finding it an easier and more accessible option. In the next few years, it will be incredibly important for self-publishing authors to make their books available in this format - even if it's a big expense.


What are your predictions for 2021? Head to my social media pages and comment to let me know!

If you need help with publishing or marketing your book, contact me.

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