4 Reasons Books Are Important During Hard Times

The increase in book sales around the world begs a simple question: what makes us turn to books during uncertain times? Find out here.

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2020. What a year it’s been.

The global pandemic has brought a lot of challenges, to say the least. One of the most prominent has been the change in the economy. 

But while many businesses have been seeing astronomical declines in their revenues, booksellers have been experiencing quite the opposite. 

Book sales have been soaring recently, especially for long novels and classical fiction. 

According to the NPD group, a market research company, “the book market has historically performed well during times of economic downturn, and our first 6 weeks have shown us that there is unlikely to be a catastrophic cliff in demand.” 

This spike in book sales appears to be trending all around the world. The UK’s biggest book chain, Waterstones, saw a 400% increase in book sales online after they shut down their shops due to social distancing. 

And in countries like Germany, France and Belgium, books are even qualified as essential items.

The increase in book sales around the world begs a simple question: what makes us turn to books during uncertain times?

Below, we’ll explore why books are more essential now than ever before.

1. Books Provide Reliable Education

Let’s face it: With an abundance of clickbait online, it’s easy to stumble upon inaccurate information about the pandemic and other social, economic, environmental, and political issues. 

Books are easier to navigate when it comes to finding reliable information. They have a much longer vetting process than a simple online blog or, even worse, a Facebook post. 

They also provide opportunities for a deeper dive into specific topics. History books alone, while not perfect, can still help a reader better understand our current circumstances. Whether it be a pandemic or political friction, chances are it’s happened before, and there are important lessons for us to learn from the past.

There are a couple easy ways for you to ensure a book is a legitimate resource (that don’t require extensive googling). First, check the foreword of a book as well as the back cover, as oftentimes these places are where you can find author credentials and other works they’ve done. 

You can also use OneSearch, an easy-to-navigate site where you can see the author’s other works, expertise, and book reviews. 

2. Books Create a Sense of Community

Have you ever felt a special connection with someone after you’ve had an enriching conversation about a book that you both enjoy? There’s nothing quite like sharing that cerebral rush and creating a special bond over a story you both adore. 

Perhaps that’s why, along with book sales, there has been a spike in digital reading groups

Groups like the Facebook group “I Always Meant to Read That” provide a platform for readers not only to check some essential reads off their bucket list, but to do so in the company of others. 

While you may be reading a book alone at home, you can enjoy knowing that others in your new community are indulging in the same story at the same time. And when you’re done, you’ll have someone equally as excited to discuss it with. Solidarity at its best!

3. Books Are a Healthy Escape

One of the best parts about reading a good book is feeling like you’re being swept off your feet. For a while, you’re completely absorbed in the setting, characters, and nuances of the story. 

With a really, really good book, this effect lasts long after you’ve finished. 

Despite the common assumption that an increase in screen time may mean less time with books, book sales have shown that this is just a myth. While our society’s use of the internet increases, so does the amount of books being printed!

No matter how electronically connected we are, books provide an escape that’s unmatched. And with screens being affiliated with work and other duties, this has proven to be even truer. 

According to experts, escaping reality with a book can be a healthy coping mechanism for anxiety. We experience the feeling of being taken away by a plot when we’ve reached our “flow state,” a state in which our entire mind is fully focused, and we are entirely present.

Being entirely present in the moment helps you gain clarity, as it gives you reprieve from anxious thought cycles. 

4. Books Provide Comfort in Trying Times

Nowadays, we all need a little comfort. Things are uncertain, and we’re all craving normalcy and familiarity.

As a writer, it’s likely that books have been a comfort since you were just a child. The crack of the spine when you open it for the first time, the “new paper” smell as you turn the pages, the freshly printed ink...we could go on and one.

Even when experiencing audiobooks and eBooks, you can find satisfaction knowing the stories will absorb you all the same. 


Now, Let’s Talk Business

When it comes to survival, food, water, and shelter are the starting points. But books come close behind. A good book can provide everything from relevant information to anxiety relief, with many other perks along the way

Not only is this a great time to reignite your love for a good book, but it’s a good time to get yours out there, too! 

With our brand new professional self-publishing consulting services, we can have you on the right track in no time. We’ll evaluate your personal goals as an author, and help you craft a personalized plan to get your books on the shelves and in the hands of readers. 

What are you waiting for? Let’s talk today >

Adam user

President & CEO,
Steuben Press

Adam Ellis has worked in the book industry since 2002, when he was first exposed to the wonderful world of Self Publishing. Over the years he has worked with thousands of authors and helped to produce, print and publish countless books.


Adam Ellis and his staff are amazing. I had complete cooperation and help throughout the process. I can't say enough. If anyone needs a reference, I am here. They did everything to help me finish my mother in law's story of her life efficiently and quickly. Thanks Adam!

– Mary Ralian, Pewaukee, WI

Mary Ralian's book is titled Anna's Story.