When Nielsen BookScan reported that 571 million print books had been published in 2015 it flew in the face of a string of claims that print books were dead. In fact, the 2015 figure was a 17 million book increase from the previous year. WNYC radio, a New York City NPR station, explored the reasons for the renaissance in print books in a recent episode of its weekly show On the Media.
Co-host Brooke Gladstone began by noting that e-book sales which had been predicted to reach a 60% market share have leveled off at 25%. She asserted that we might be, “reacting to our digital lives by embracing the analog.”
Los Angeles Times Book Editor Carolyn Kellogg noted three other developments in the book marketplace:
- Audio book sales increased by 40%, a fact she attributed to the growing popularity of podcasts which have become a “crossover point” from which listeners move on to audio books.
- Part of the increase in print book sales is the result of a huge ramping up of interest in sci fi. Major publishers Simon & Schuster with Saga and Harcourt with John Joseph Adams have added science fiction imprints to their lines.
- Independent publishers have also driven print sales increases because “they have got great books.”
Kellogg’s conclusion is that print “publishing is not dead yet.”
If you would like to listen to the segment click this link to Why the Publishing Industry Isn’t in Peril.