The book has been hugely successful since the start of the pandemic. While almost all of the cultural sectors were paralyzed, the book fared well. Sales exploded with figures beyond all expectations for 2020. The challenge of Judith Landry, General Manager of Éditions de l ‘ Male, will be to build on this momentum and ensure that good books are published in 2021.
What was your initial reaction when the pandemic hit Quebec?
“At Groupe Homme, we had a very good start to the year … We had several big issues scheduled for March and April. The closing announcements on Friday March 13 were like a disaster. The first weeks of March and April were exceedingly difficult. “
The book was a huge pandemic hit with an explosion in online sales in bookstores. Did you expect this?
“We expected a catastrophe. The losses in turnover for March and April exceeded 75% and we were expecting the worst. And we felt, towards the end of May, a boom and a return of people to bookstores. We wondered if people were going to have enough purchasing power to spend $ 25 to $ 30 on buying a book, and the answer, to our surprise, was yes. We did not expect such an explosion. It’s a pretty phenomenal year. “
What were the challenges in times of pandemic?
“We had to take all the titles that were planned in the program, until December 31, and assess a release date, while considering postponements. There are titles that we decided to postpone for a few weeks, others for a few months and others for a full year. It was a titanic job. “
Are you satisfied with the results for this year unlike any other which is about to end?
“Excessively. We are, at the moment, at a 10 and 15% increase over the year 2019 and despite the weeks when the bookstores were closed. What comforts me, beyond the increase in turnover, is to see people returning to reading. I recently took a photo of a line in front of a bookstore. I almost had tears in my eyes, I found it so moving to see people waiting and waiting to enter a bookstore. “
What is your vision for 2021 after a year beyond all expectations?
“I am afraid of a backlash for 2021. The book currently enjoys great media visibility and on all platforms. The book is a safe haven product that has no competition at this time. When a certain normalcy returns, when people can go back to restaurants, to the theater, to the movies and all the rest, are they going to give up the book? I am an eternal optimist and I tell myself that people will not let go of books. It’s up to us, the publishers, to make reading fun for the public and to come up with the best books possible. ”
- Last name : Judith Landry
- Profession: Managing Director of Éditions de l’Homme
- Impact: In July 2016, she was appointed general manager. She is the first woman to hold this position since the creation of the house in 1958. Since 1962, Éditions de l’Homme has published the works of nearly 1,700 authors and sold 27 million books worldwide.