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How COVID-19 will affect the publishing industry

The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted how writers write, what editors want to publish, and how books are sold.


Early on during the coronavirus pandemic, a meme circulated in the writing community claiming that Shakespeare penned King Lear while in quarantine from the bubonic plague. What the meme didn’t address, and what would be more helpful for writers to know, was how the theater community changed while Shakespeare sheltered in place. Did theatergoers emerge from their 17th-century homes hungry for entertainment? Did they flock to lighthearted or serious productions after months staring at their walls? Were topical plays about the plague avoided like…well, you know.

As the nation prepares to reemerge from quarantine, the publishing community will face many of these same questions, albeit reimagined to suit our modern age. The pandemic will leave lasting impacts on authors, editors, agents, and readers. What will they be? After speaking with people on all sides of the issue, we have a few predictions.

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