Major Book Industry News for June 2024

From kid books and comics to challenges faced by major retailers, the book industry has a unique blend of news for June. Many stories at the halfway point of the year focus on finance and the retail sector. Some independent bookshops sell, while others get a boost from unique marketing campaigns. Online fiction success grows while brick-and-mortar sales suffer.

Explore a wide range of book industry news for June 2024 below. Additionally, don’t forget to check out recent book industry news for April & May.

  1. Barnes & Noble Buys Denver, CO Bookstore
  2. Webtoon Goes Public
  3. Indie Bookseller Hopefuls Take on Amazon
  4. Costco to Stop Selling Books All Year
  5. Children’s Institute Bookselling Event

Barnes & Noble Buys Denver, CO Bookstore

For 53 years, The Tattered Cover has offered an unending supply of excellent books and experience to people across Denver, Colorado. Unfortunately, the downturn of brick-and-mortar bookshops, lowering sales in general, and excessive competition from huge names have forced it into bankruptcy. It owes $1.6 million, including a considerable chunk of the back rent for all its locations. However, shoppers will not have to go elsewhere to get their book-buying fix.

Barnes & Noble, one of the oldest and largest bookstores in the United States, has stepped in with a $1.83 million cash offering. The agreement was finalized on June 17th and will be completed next month. What does this mean for The Tattered Cover? The main store will remain open through 2038, and Barnes & Noble will keep on most or all of the 70 employees. This was the best deal the smaller bookseller received from the nine parties who initially expressed interest in buying them out. Whether it keeps its community feel and anti-censorship focus remains to be seen.

Webtoon Goes Public

The company behind many internationally recognized and loved online reading experiences, Webtoon, is going public. Considered the top story-tech company in the world, they hold a variety of brands, including the self-named Webtoon, a wide variety of specialty platforms in Japan and Korea, Yonder, and one that is undoubtedly more recognized by online story fans in the United States, Wattpad. They support over 24 million content creators and entertain over 170 million users every month.

With such colossal value and prominence in the global markets, it makes sense for Webtoon to announce its initial public offering. The shares, 15 million to start, will be traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market in late June. Each share will begin at $21, bringing in an expected $315 million for the successful company.

Indie Bookseller Hopefuls Take on Amazon

The announcement of Amazon Prime Days, which takes place in July every year, may excite many readers with the opportunity to buy up a whole collection of new books at a discount. However, indie authors and independent bookstores are fighting back this year. The “Indies Take the Gold” campaign is currently underway. Its goal is to educate and inspire people who love to read to look at smaller, local shops and single online bookstores instead of focusing on the massive corporation.

The Summer Olympics, although mainly focused on sports and international competition, coincide with many bookselling opportunities, especially in sports and children’s books. The idea of giving out gold medals to prominent and popular books has a long history. With this June announcement from the American Booksellers Association come many suggestions and marketing ideas for small stores to go for their gold medal seasons. At the same time, readers can remember the benefits of local shopping and supporting indie bookstores in their communities.

Costco to Stop Selling Books All Year

The well-known and loved membership club super store Costco announced its plan to stop year-round book sales in all their stores. Dwindling printbook sales represent only part of the reason for this decision, although it is easy to understand that such a company looks at profit-loss statements first when changing what they sell. Another contributing factor is that workers must unpack books individually to display them in the store, which takes too much time compared to Costco’s ‘roll out the pallet’ method of stocking stores.

However, there is a sparkling light at the end of the tunnel, or at least at the end of the year. Costco will keep selling books in higher volumes in most locations during the winter holiday. All book sales have disappeared in some, such as their Hawaii location.

Readers who prefer to browse while grabbing bulk groceries or cheap rotisserie chicken can expect to find a smaller selection from September through December. For readers who prefer print books and hardcovers especially, this marks a real shift in opportunity to get their hands on their next favorite read.

Children’s Institute Bookselling Event

The twelfth annual Children’s Institute event in New Orleans, LA took place earlier this month. Although only three days long, this bookseller’s event is chock full of many important and inspiring workshops, discussions, and performances. The overall focus remains on encouraging children in all demographics to read more and helping authors and illustrators offer the best books to the most kids. Writers, retail sellers, and publishers around the country attended for a chance to network.

Some of the panels included a Reading for the Joy of It discussion with Renee Watson, which shined a light on the unfortunate growth of book bans around the country. The closing event included a Spotlight on Black Publishing, Queer Voices for Community, and a karaoke-filled party to celebrate the end of another successful year. The push for diversity and inclusion in children’s book creation and sales was a prominent focus of the long weekend.

The month of June continues the turbulent rise and fall of book sales and publishing across the country and around the world. Altogether, the collected news of the month clearly demonstrates the continued challenges. Big corporations make money-focused decisions and independent bookstores work as hard as ever to get the attention they deserve. Market shifts and opportunities need careful watching as the year enters its second half.