Print Books Bounce Back

Stacks on Stacks of Books

The reports of the death of the printed book have been greatly exaggerated.

Sales figures from the end of last year show that while they don’t dominate the marketplace as they once did, print books are showing a good amount of resiliency during the precipitous rise of ebooks and the shifting of content from the printed word to a digital sphere.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the role of ebooks might have been greatly overestimated. “It may be that e-books, rather than replacing printed books, will ultimately serve a role more like that of audiobooks — a complement to traditional reading, not a substitute.”

Print and Digital Flourish

It’s fair to say that a seamless transition from printed books to digital ones just isn’t happening, and the marketplace we live in now — where both printed books and eBooks are having brisk sales—might be here for some time. According to a 2012 survey by Bowker Market Research, 59% of Americans say they have “no interest” in buying an ebooks. While I believe that this number will go down as more and more Americans familiarize themselves with reading on digital devices like tablets, it goes to show just ingrained the printed book is. This transitional market bodes well for authors looking to explore multi-platform publishing, as they will test the waters of both a digital and print readership, and see which one works best for their content.

While it doesn’t appear the rise of ebooks has stopped in its tracks, it has definitely slowed. With ebooks, a lot of consumers and providers are still working out the kinks. Publishers are still trying to figure out how much they should cost, while libraries are desperately trying to make them widely available to the public. So while the market has definitely shifted over the past few years, we won’t be living tomorrow in a world without the printed book, and probably won’t for years to come.

3 thoughts on “Print Books Bounce Back”

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