Print is dead – long live print! This common war cry within the publishing industry reminds us of the persistence of printed publications. A recent Pew Research Center study on Americans’ reading habits is the latest piece of research to confirm that readers continue to prefer printed books to e-books.
The survey revealed that 73% of Americans have read a book in the last year, but just 28% have read an e-book. Per the study, “When people reach for a book, it is much more likely to be a traditional print book than a digital product.” The survey also revealed that many readers are hybrid readers – reading both print and digital.
A recent survey revealed that 73% of Americans have read a book in the last year, but just 28% have read an e-book.
Of course, print has a significant head-start on e-books and brings many advantages including a long distribution network and a simple (click-free) method of reading.
However, the digital book market can now be defined as well-established, so it would be interesting to discover what is making readers stick with print. Is it, for example, cost compared to perceived value of e-books that is putting them off? And then there’s the huge amount of digital content that is so readily available. Will e-book readership hold its own?
A short time ago, publishers placed a huge emphasis on digital, citing it as their main area of growth. However, all five of the big five publishers reported a drop in sales of e-books in the first half of 2016, a decline in e-book sales and e-readership that seems more than just a passing trend. Could it be a real cause for concern?
Perhaps readers will simply always love print. While e-book sales may be down, profits are up at the five big publishers. So perhaps it is time publishers reconsider their e-book strategies. Or perhaps they need to concentrate on a both-and approach, rather than either-or. Whether the solution lies in lower prices or better promotions is yet to be seen.