Earlier this year, J.K. Rowling published in 34 parts for free, her new children’s story The Ickabog on her official website. A physical edition was then announced for later in the year and will include fan art created by the children who read it. Set to be published in just a few days, the book will be released as the UK is amid its second lockdown, meaning the majority of bookshops will be closed. With this in mind, publisher Hachette has stated it is “pivoting” its promotion plans and will now be backing online sales of the book to help boost sales and support bookshops.
With the book’s release date of 10th November fast approaching, a spokesperson from the publisher said: “This is a global publication date and we will be working with all our UK and international retailer partners to maximise their sales of this title in the lead up to Christmas and beyond.
“We have an extensive print and digital campaign planned for The Ickabog, which is set to create mass awareness and sales of the book. We will of course pivot our promotional plans to support those retailers who have had to close shops, to drive their online orders and we will work with them on activities to celebrate The Ickabog, in store, when they are able to open to the public again.”
The Ickabog began life as a children’s story Rowling told her young children and is being published years later. A portion of the book’s royalties will be donated to the Volant Charitable Trust, which supports vulnerable groups affected by COVID-19.
As The Bookseller reports, speaking in general about the publisher’s upcoming plans in the face of a second UK lockdown, the company’s group sales director, Rob Manser said: “Our distribution centre has had a rush of orders since the government’s announcement of the latest lockdown. We’ve been busy delivering stock to booksellers who’ve seen heavy trading this week and want to maximise sales before the lockdown. We’re also replenishing all of our titles, particularly Christmas books, which have been selling incredibly well.
“We never really returned to ‘normal’ after the first lockdown, so a second lockdown will simply be a continuation of the special measures we started taking in the spring, which have now become business as usual. We haven’t moved any embargoes yet, and both our events and the way we stay in touch with our retail partners have already gone digital.”