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Coronavirus pandemic did not prevent 46 publishing houses in Malta and Gozo from resuming the publication of 1143 new book titles in 2019 and 2020, mostly available for sale online.

Of that figure, 632 books were published in 2019 and 511 in 2020. Around 57% of the book publishing houses were established after the year 2000, against 43% who had been in operation for more than 20 years, according to a survey by the National Statistics Office.

A total of 29 publishing houses were not affiliated with a particular bookstore, distributor, or printing press, while 8 entities were affiliated with many stakeholders in the publishing industry.

Majority of the books were published in English during both years; with 63% in 2019 and 50% in 2020.

Three or fewer editors were involved in the books published by more than 90% of the publishers in both years, vis-a-vis the involvement of three or fewer authors in books by 76.1% of the publishing houses during 2020, says the survey.

In addition, 475 and 344 trade publications were printed and sold in 2019 and 2020 respectively, signaling a popularity in this type of books.

Due to the pandemic, online sale of books grew in 2020 to 433 titles, adds the survey, because this became the preferred channel used to sell printed and digital books for the large majority of titles.

The survey also mentioned that total revenue generated from sales and licenses of trade and educational books in 2020 was estimated at €3.4 million, a drop of €1.1 million in 2019. Two thirds of total revenue, representing 65.4%, were generated from the sales and licenses of trade publishing. Revenue from printed books sales represented 87.5% of overall revenue.

Source: Times of Malta