From Publishing Perspectives:
While a Latvian publisher seems encouraged, a counterpart in Estonia is less upbeat. And Russia’s LitRes is eyeing the region for its digital-sales potential in ebooks and audio.
. . . .
[T]he Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center sees Latvia (population 1.9 million) with 2,194 cases and 40 deaths. In Estonia (population 1.4 million), there are 3,659 cases reported, with 67 fatalities. And in Lithuania (population 2.8 million), Johns Hopkins has registered 5,366 cases and 99 deaths.
. . . .
[P]ublishers in the Baltics say they feel optimistic that they’re seeing recovery from the economic impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The book markets of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, they say, are seeing resumed growth of sales and levels of book production.
Olegs Mihalevics is the chair of Apgads Kontinents in Riga, one of Latvia’s publishing houses. In comments to Publishing Perspectives, Mihalevics says that most books in the region still are sold in traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores. That, of course, means that sales sharply declined during the period of March to June when the most stringent efforts were levied by the Baltic governments to contain the spread of the virus.
Recovery from the shuttering of physical points of sale began in the summer.
“Since June,” Mihalevics says, “consumer traffic in the book stores of Latvia has been steadily growing.
“In June itself, book sales increased by 10 percent compared to June 2019. One of the reasons for this was unusually cold temperatures, along with public events being restricted throughout the Baltics.
“At the moment, the market continues an active recovery, parallel to our regional economics. Doctors and teachers–who form the majority of book buyers in our region–have begun to receive increased wages, a good sign for us, with consumers showing more confidence.”
Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives
For those who are a bit hazy about the Baltic States – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – the Baltic Sea separates the southern part of Sweden (including Stockholm) from Europe. The Baltic States are lined up on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea east of Sweden and south of Finland.
Unfortunately for the inhabitants of the Baltic States, their eastern borders are with the former Soviet Union, now the nations of Russia and Belarus. The closest major cities not across the Baltic Sea are St. Petersburg and Minsk, now the capital of Belarus.
During the first twenty-two years of the 20th Century, the Baltic States were controlled by Russia or Germany, with control of the individual Baltic countries sometimes divided geographically between Russian and German occupation.
The Russian Revolution and the collapse of the German empire allowed the three Baltic states to find a precarious path to independence by 1922. However, life in the shadow of The Soviet Union under Stalin and his successors would not have been completely free from cares and worries.
PG concludes that the doctors and teachers in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia must really like to read books in their native languages to have allowed publishers to survive in these three nations.
Compared to what the people in these nations have already survived, COVID-19 is a walk in the park.