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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Death of the printed book

Reports of the death of the printed book have been greatly exaggerated, it seems.

Physical book sales have increased by just over four million this year, fighting back against the digital revolution.

Last year saw the first rise in print book sales since 2007, while digital book sales dropped for the first time since 2011.

The main attractions are the ‘feel’ of a ‘real’ book, the urge to satisfy the need for collecting, and the convenience, not having to worry about batteries. This latter I can sympathise with since my Kindle died on me and I won’t be replacing it until we move back to the UK (some time in the future!) Another draw is that people tend to spend so much time with computers, phones and tablets that savouring a physical book can be a blessed relief.

Not surprisingly, children's print books have generally continued to sell well, as have cookery and (very surprisingly) colouring books.

According to a recent report, so far this year 85 million printed books have been purchased - 4.3 million more than last year.

Yes, there’s a place in our lives for both formats. Let’s just celebrate books.


Jo Walpole said...

I find myself reading a mix of both but recently I'm moving towards the Kindle more. I like being able to see a book and have it in my hand instantly, not having to wait for the postman to bring it or for it to show up in the library. In the case of fiction, I'm finding that I don't have any attachment to paper books anymore. However, when it comes to reference books, there's no substitute for being able to thumb through the pages.

Nik Morton said...

Like you, Jo, I'm ambivalent. Space is always going to be an issue with printed books, unless one reads and disposes (heaven forfend!) Still, some favourite authors' printed books are retained, no matter how often I cull those shelves. The classics are on my Kindle. I agree, reference books need to be pored over - though the Kindle search facility is useful.