As Russia’s coronavirus numbers hit record levels, booksellers are taking a protracted hit, not eased by rumors of new lockdowns and surging statistics.
While a Latvian publisher seems encouraged, a counterpart in Estonia is less upbeat. And Russia’s LitRes is eyeing the region’s digital sales.
Ukrainian title output plunged 55 percent in the first half of the year, publishers say, as they worry that renewed lockdowns are ahead.
Eased restrictions in Russia have yet to result in a return of sales for the publishing industry. Some 40 percent of bookstores remain closed.
The Russian market’s book publishing sector has been designated by the state as eligible for special financial support during the pandemic.
As much as 75 percent of the Russian book industry’s usual domestic profits may be lost during the closures of physical bookstores in the pandemic.
With ongoing operations in Europe and North America, the Russian children’s book publisher will focus in 2020 on Japan, China, and Vietnam.
Even as many parts of Europe have seen an easing of VAT rates on digital reading, Moscow is planning to raise its tax rate on books.
In Russia, book prices are rising as production and sales slow, according to figures cited by the 102-year-old Russian Book Chamber.
VKontakte, the most popular social network in Russia with 100 million active users, is working with book publishers to offer audiobooks to its network as early as next month.