Paris | Guillaume Musso, Joel Dicker, Bernard Minier, John le Carré and Elena Ferrante are they going to save the publishing world? This is the bet that the publishers who rely on a handful of best-sellers for a relaunch of a sector at the edge of asphyxiation after two months of confinement.
Reopening since Monday of bookstores has finally come a time of joyful reunion between the books and their readers, but does not erase the deep crisis in which is immersed the world of publishing.
The epidemic of coronavirus has affected the whole chain of the book. Booksellers have lowered their iron curtain on the 17th of march, but publishers and distributors have also suspended their activities and the recovery is done at the dropper.
To give oxygen to the booksellers, many of which face a wall of debt, the editors have decided to reduce their production. For years, the question of the overproduction editorial is a sea serpent. In 2018, according to the legal deposit of the national Library of France (BnF), more than 82 000 shares, or 225 pounds per day, have been published!
Only for the months of march to June, a total of 5300 new features and new editions were on the agenda of the publishers.
The epidemic of coronavirus has grind to a halt this avalanche.
Weight loss program
Programs to publishers for may and June have suffered a severe weight loss program.
Reverse of the medal, the first victims of this diet are first-time novelists, and the works that are called “demanding”.
The publishing house Delcourt has announced “with a heavy heart,” his new collection of French literature called The “avrils” will finally be launched in January 2021. The first two titles of this collection, whose launch was originally planned for 8 April, and June 3, were first novels.
At Gallimard, the first releases will take place on may 28 and, in a first time, the house of Antoine Gallimard account re-sale of the works promised to the successful, but who had suffered to appear just before the containment. It is as well that we can find on the tables of booksellers, the latest novel by Leïla Slimani, “the house of The other” or the final story of the Nobel laureate J.-M. G. Le Clézio’s “Song of brittany”.
Editor’s table a lot on the last book of the Italian Elena Ferrante, “The life deceptive adults”, in bookstores on June 9, to fill some of the huge losses of its turnover.
Weight-heavy to the rescue
For the post-containment, these are the trucks that are called to the rescue of the major publishing houses.
The house XO publishes the new thriller by Bernard Minier, “The valley” may 20, Calmann-Levy launches on may 26 (400 000 copies), “life is a novel” by Guillaume Musso, may 27, readers will find the new book from Switzerland Joël Dicker, “The riddle of the chamber 622” (editions de Fallois) also fired 400 000 copies and on the 28th of may, place to John le Carré with “Return of service” (Threshold).
Many publishers have in their satchel books the so-called “general public”. Thus, on June 3, Actes Sud will publish “Women without mercy”, the new title of the queen of crime Swedish Camilla Läckberg, while the June 17, Flammarion propose “The gambling of the Caspian sea”, a new survey of Aurel the consul, the character created by Jean-Christophe Rufin.
Small and medium publishers are worried about this trend to promote the “best-sellerisation” and the race to the novelty.
It is necessary to “slow down the race to the novelty that sees a considerable number of texts from the pestle, without having had time to touch readers”, said in a column published on April 28, in “Humanity” several tens of publishing houses independent of each other.
In a “call to readers” launched this week, 113 independent houses have warned against “over-production, bad for the environment and that fills the bookstores, drowns an editorial production of quality, more daring but less visible, reduces still more the life of the books, intensifying the returns and the shelling of works not sold”.
“Publish less” it is to accept the fact”have more best-sellers”, a condition essential for keeping afloat a large publishing house, has indirectly responded Olivier Nora, head of Grasset, in an interview published in “Le Monde” dated Friday.
“There are still too many books to rapid obsolescence. This is where we need to focus our efforts to be less lavish in the future,” he conceded.