Print Is Back And It's Trouncing E-Book Sales

Print Is Back and It's Trouncing E-Book Sales

Print is not dead. Actually, it's e-books that are having a rough time right now. The Association of American Publishers says e-book sales slumped about 10 per cent in the first five months of 2015.

This could be a sign that more people are returning to books with binding, or that more people are hybrid readers, as The New York Times suggests. Do people just prefer reading on paper? The Times points out that sales of dedicated e-reading devices have also taken a hit, but that's not too surprising considering how popular tablets and smartphones are — both of which can also fulfil the e-reader role.

Print publishers don't seem to be treating the drops as a short-lived trend, because big names are already pouring a lot of money into the "old school" medium, though with some changes. The Times reports Hachette, Simon & Schuster and even Penguin Random House all invested in making warehouses or distribution centres larger. Penguin's also been offering faster turnaround times for sellers orders. And HarperCollins is paying close attention to data to get books shipped faster too.

Even independent booksellers seem to be investing again. The American Booksellers Association counted a higher number of member stores and locations in comparison to five years ago: (2015) 1,712 stores in 2,227 locations versus (2010) 1,410 stores in 1,660 locations.

This is turning into a pretty impressive turnaround. If only newspapers could ride on the coattail of some of this paper love.

[The New York Times, Ian Muttoo / CC BY-SA 2.0]



    One of the reasons could be that most of the devices are now more tempting (or distraction friendly) to do things other than reading. And when they are done with it, they are bored (or want to get away from the device) which is when they pick up a book :D

    e-ink readers are still too expensive and difficult to get content on to.
    A book will never crash, take time to load a page or need time to charge....
    I love eReaders but I can see why many do not.

    The NYTimes is misusing the stats. The AAP figures can be used to make statements about the AAP members, but not the other half of the ebook market not included in the AAP's stats:

    I still continue to buy the physical media and fill up bookcases in my house. I've a strong connection to libraries from my youth, but most of my friends prefer audiobooks these days.

    Print is not dead. Actually, it’s e-books that are having a rough time right now.

    Comes as no surprise. As pointed out by others, you don't need to charge a physical book and it doesn't have a software crash.

    On top of that, the great advantage of physical books is they don't have freaking DRM nor can be remotely deleted; like Amazon did to Nineteen Eighty-Four in a living definition of irony.

    Last edited 25/09/15 8:58 am

    In Australia ebooks are overpriced, particularly from the Hatchette monopoly over TOR, Orbit etc . I can get paper books from UK and America cheaper from the actual publisher who took all the risk with actual authors (even Australian ones ...). The author gets their cash, local rip off so called "publisher" gets nix. All good.

    I think what's happening is that people are buying into the experience and not just the content.
    There are still things print can do that digital can't. Foil, metallic inks and spot varnishes are currently unique to print. For children, pop-up books have a magic that you can't replicate on computer.

      I'm sorry but your examples are all totally lame. My PC has gigabytes of foil, metallic and varnish textures, I can replicate any of that with ease. And how does a pop-up book compare to a fully 3D animated scene on a computer? Your examples really don't make your point at all.

      OTOH, there are myriad things an eBook can do that a physical book cannot. e.g. Keep my place without a bookmark or give me dictionary definitions of words, or explanations of concepts from places like Wikipedia, simply by pressing on the appropriate part of the page. And if I ever forget to take my Kindle, I can always keep reading on my phone or tablet, which is much better than having to buy a second copy of a paperback (which I have had to do in the past). I can carry hundreds of them in the back pocket of my shorts and buy more anywhere, any time I might need to. (You have no idea how many times I ran out of books in places like Ahmedabad or Seoul, without a decent English language Sci-Fi bookshop in sight. Some of the rubbish I was forced to read...)

    Apparently, pointing out that saying one is up and the other is down cannot tell you which is actually selling more is too risqué to publish. Go figure.

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