Those who said the printed word was dead might want to take that back.
A news report suggests that people are ditching e-books and are returning to the good old fashioned printed books. E-book sales have declined 18.7% in the U.S. over a period of nine months in the beginning of 2016, according to the Association of American Publishers. While e-books’ sales decreased, paperbacks and hardcovers sales increased.
A similar trend occurred in the UK. As reported by the Guardian newspaper:
Sales of consumer ebooks plunged 17% to £204m last year, the lowest level since 2011 – the year the ebook craze took off as Jeff Bezos’ market-dominating Amazon Kindle took the UK by storm.
It is the second year running that sales of consumer ebooks – the biggest segment of the £538m ebook market, which fell 3% last year – have slumped as commuters, holidaymakers and leisure readers shelve digital editions in favour of good old fashioned print novels.
This was bound to happen. We are staring at screens most of the week and reading a printed book takes allows readers step away from that and cure their “screen fatigue”. Another factor is the continuous lawsuits publishers placed on Amazon and other e-book retailers. Amazon and others were forced to sell e-books at publishers’ list prices, which were just as high as the printed version. Why would anyone choose to buy the e-book at a higher price when they can get a paperback or hardcover at the exact same price, even lower?
Book publishers really have themselves to blame for this sale decline. However, I don’t think their hearts are breaking over this news. Just like some of us book lovers out there: they never really liked e-books anyway.