• Rachel Olsen

Corona, Clorox Wipes & Kindle Sales in 2020

Covid-19 did a number on our lives in 2020.

First, the scarcity of Clorox cleaning wipes changed how we clean. I’d forgotten I could spray cleaner directly on a surface and wipe it with a thing called a sponge. You have to rinse it out afterward, but you don’t have to throw it away for several weeks.

Then the need for social distancing changed how we entertain ourselves. Ballgames, tailgates, theatre shows, concerts and dinner parties went the way of Clorox wipes and disappeared from our lives.

This was good news for Netflix (hello, Joe Exotic), Disney Plus (hello, Hamilton) and Hulu.

This was also good news for writers.

The emergence of the epidemic, and subsequent lock-down, boosted book sales.

What Sold like Hand Sanitizer?

Romance sells well every year but during the pandemic this spring, Clean and Wholesome romances gave us safe places with happy endings - which is practically all our stress-addled brains could handle at the time.

Several categories of non-fiction rose sharply this spring including cookbooks and the Health, Dieting, and Fitness genres. After all, it was up to us to feed ourselves during lockdown. Some of us had to learn to cook again, or for the first time. Then we had to fight weight gain after binging pasta and Netflix.

Children’s book sales increased ten-fold this spring as parents kept and schooled kids at home. Teens started reading too. Teen Romance-Sci-Fi & Dystopian sales shot up by 40% – after a multi-year slump – proving that we read to learn how to handle life as much as to escape it.

This fall, the number of pages consumed remains at pandemic-level highs while the best-sellers revert back to their pre-pandemic norms of Romance, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

Kindle’s Select (KDPS) Wins Big

For months this spring the only vehicles on the streets of my neighborhood were Amazon delivery trucks. In 2020 it seems we’re buying everything from Amazon.

Legit, 2020 has been halcyon days for the Kindle e-book.

A writer with (quality) books in Kindle’s KDP Select program likely profited from this pandemic. Kindle Select payouts to e-book authors rose by 26% in April 2020, 31% in May, 30% in June, and 27% in July.

Amazon KDPS paid out $32.4 million in one month to authors this summer – a record high.

If you can get a quality book completed and uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing before the end of this winter, you stand to profit too. It’s projected by the end of 2020, KDPS will have recorded 25% growth for the year. That’s double 2019's growth.

Trads Profit Too, Couldn’t You? 

It’s not just Amazon published e-books selling like mega rolls of toilet paper in 2020, traditional publishers like Hachette and Harper Collins also report significant increases in their e-book sales. Harper Collins described pandemic sales as their strongest digital sales performance in years. Simon & Schuster registered a 50% uptick in digital sales at one point so far!

Wouldn’t you like to get in on this income? Think of all the Charmin you could stock-up on, all the Door-dash deliveries you could afford, or the wine you could be drinking out of bottles rather than boxes.

While there’s never any guarantee your book will sell, now is perhaps a better time than ever to launch a well-conceived, well-written e-book.

But first you have to complete that manuscript. So put down your glass wine, turn off The Great British Baking Show, and get cracking.

  • Need some help finishing your book?

  • Need to talk through your plot with an expert?

  • Need an editor to comb through your completed draft and untangle the crinkly spots?

The Book Coach Collective is here to help. And personally, I’ll knock 10% off my fees for anyone who mails me two containers of Clorox wipes. Seriously - message me for my address! LOL

It remains to be seen if Clorox wipes will reappear, and if current reading habits will continue once a vaccine is available. But for now, books are a safe and welcome escape for a planet living through a dystopian-like existence in 2020.

Reach me at RachelOlsen.coaching@gmail.com

Rachel Olsen


An agented, published author, a trained editor, and a certified creative mindset coach, Rachel helps writers:

1) Get clarity on their book and goals,

2) Overcome hindering thoughts,

3) Plan a route to writing success,

4) Gain momentum thru accomplishment,

5) Create their best book that will resonate with their ideal reader.

www.BookCoachCollective.com - Click here for a list of our coaches and more info.