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May 21

Book Release Dates during COVID-19

Posted on May 21, 2020 at 8:29 AM by Bobbie Clark

In the times before the pandemic, librarians generally had a pretty good idea about when publishers would release new books. Occasionally, release dates would change, but for the most part, the advertised date of publication was dependable and solid. 

As bookstores and libraries across the country (and around the world) have closed or dramatically changed the hours of operation and services provided, the release dates of books have changed as well. Books intended to reach their prospective readers in April and May have new dates in June and July and a few as far out as late December. Many of these publication dates will likely change again. 

By my best estimation, about 25% of adult fiction and nonfiction titles that the library intended (and still intends) to order this spring were pushed back to later in the year. Our primary book vendor, Baker & Taylor, provided a spreadsheet of popular delayed titles to assist during this time of uncertainty. 


Some examples include: 


The Last Druid (Terry Brooks) from 6/2 to 10/27 

The Nemesis Manifesto (Eric Van Lustbader) from 5/19 to 7/21 

You Betrayed Me (Lisa Jackson) from 6/30 to 10/27 

Killing Crazy Horse (Bill O'Reilly) from 5/5 to 9/15 

The Case for Keto (Gary Taubes) 4/28 to 9/14 to 12/29 

The Room Where It Happened (John Bolton) from 5/12 to 6/23 

Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio (Derf Backderf) from 4/7 to 9/4 


Book release dates are likely to be in flux for quite some time as cities and states gradually reopen and business operations begin to adapt to the current environment. 

When attempting to discover the release date for a specific title, would-be readers may be frustrated to find that different web sites provide different dates. The date provided by the book’s publisher is likely the best to go by, but even those are subject to change. 


James Parrott

Collection Management Librarian


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