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Printed Book Sales Rise For First Time In 4 Years

Great News For Booksellers!

The introduction of the Kindle in 2007 ushered in a new age for the humble book and many people assumed it would spell the end for the “printed” word, but according to recent figures, the death of the medium may be premature. For the first time in four years, the sales of physical books have risen. Sure, they’ve only increased by 1.4%, but that tiny tick upward is a giant jump forward for the time tested tome. (Sweney)

E-Books Vs. Printed Books

I should make it known that I own a Kindle and I love my Kindle. It weighs half a pound, it’s easy to throw into my backpack, and I can carry over 1000 e-books on it! I can admit that it is game changing technology. Yet, book sales continue in the face of that awesome innovation. Why is that?

There is a distinct sterility when you’re browsing through a digital library. Neither cold algorithms nor the humdrum act of swiping left or right can replace the thrill of organic discovery. When you browse printed books you do so with all of your senses. You might breath in the unmistakable smell of an old book, experience the satisfying feeling of cracking open a novel, or perhaps your eyes are drawn to the dust floating midair, suspended in the pockets of sunlight streaming through the windows. Sure, there is definitely the notion of romance, exploration, and nostalgia in wondering through a bookstore. That might be why so many rom-coms have used it as a setting for their “meet-cutes”, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

The Second Age of the printed word

The 1.4% increase in sales may just be a blip on the e-books’ inevitable march towards world domination. The electronic word might just continue imposing its brutal will and all of our printed books will soon become relics. But maybe, just maybe…we’re witnessing the dust as its finally settling. I foresee a world where the printed book has carved out a small, but meaningful sanctuary in each of our lives. I might be considered off the wall or woefully out of touch, only time will tell, but perhaps we are at the precipice of the second age of the printed word.

For more of my book news commentary check out my post on Wimborne Longest Line Of Books Record

Read The Guardian’s Full Article HERE


Works Cited

Sweney, Mark. “Printed book sales rise for first time in four years as ebooks decline.” 13 May 2016. The Guardian. 28 July 2016. <https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/may/13/printed-book-sales-ebooks-decline>.