Book lovers, brace yourselves; fiction sales are on a steep, steady decline, and it’s not looking good for the future.
Between 2013 and 2017, we’ve seen a 16% drop in adult fiction revenue, with numbers still on the downward slope at this point in 2018. 16% over four years is a troubling figure, and I can’t help but wonder what’s going on to drive such a severe deterioration in sales.
There are the usual suspects, of course — a greater variety of entertainment options have become available in recent years, publishers are taking fewer risks with new books and authors, people are reading more nonfiction…it all adds up. But the more I think about these plausible causes, the more I believe there’s something about fiction — specifically, the role that fiction plays and the purpose it serves — that we have begun to perceive differently.