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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Survival Of Print

Print sales revenue for books declined 16% over the past two years, while e-book sales growth jumped 34% in just the past year. Judging by these numbers, one would conclude that print books are on the fast track to extinction, but way, stop the presses! There is more to this story, as pointed out in a recent Wall Street Journal piece.

According to the newspaper, a 2012 survey shows that 16% of Americans have purchased an e-book. Further a Pew Research Center survey shows 30% of Americans read at least one e-book this past year, whereas 89% of regular book readers said they read at last one print book in the last 12 months.

The e-book explosion is slowing down, starting with the declining sale of dedicated e-book readers like the Nook. Sales of the devices plunged 36% according to the WSJ, though tablet sales have soared.

Interestingly, a study said 59% of Americans do not plan to read an e-book. Also, 90% of e-book readers continue to read physical volumes as well, so it is not all digital, all the time. Maybe, just maybe, the printed book will survive and co-exist with its digital counterpart.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2013 ©


  1. Very interesting observation. I too believe there will always be a market for printed books, which is why savvy authors should publish both print and electronic versions of their books.

  2. The good news, is that book lovers will -- and do -- use both formats. Some books are digestible in e-book form (fiction, for instance), but more serious books tend toward print versions (just try to read Team of Rivals on a Nook and you'll find it very unsatisfying). Also, where we are today is that e-book content is still limited. Find the complete short stories of Ray Bradbury (key backlist in many bookstores) and you will be left wanting. There will be room for both with iPads and Kindle Fires offering a device for entertainment that includes books (books that are more relevant for those seeking entertainment--Fifty Shades, say).