Ever since eBooks began gaining in popularity, fans of print books have worried that they would soon see the death of their beloved hard and paper bound novels. Libraries have struggled to cope with the decrease in demand for print books, and some have declared that the introduction of digital books is changing the publishing industry forever.
However, according to recent figures, sales of print books have actually overtaken sales of their digital counterparts and in the first half of this year more print books were sold that eBooks. Numbers revealed by Nielson Books & Consumer showed that eBooks took up only 23 percent of sales in the industry for the first six months of 2014, while hardcover books made up 25 percent and paperbacks were 42 percent of book sales.
Not only did print books as a whole overtake eBook sales, but both hardbound and paperbound books sold more separately than eBooks did. Some might wonder whether this is showing a slowing in the popularity of eBooks, or whether those that turned to digital books in the first place have come full circle and gone back towards the traditional.
Bloomsbury publishers have agreed with the latest figures that the popularity of eBooks has ceased to grow in popularity; however they have insisted that this doesn’t mean that the popularity is on the decline. Publishers have suggested that eBooks have simply hit their peak, at least for now, and Richard Charkin, the managing director of adult books at Bloomsbury, has said that “the US market is certainly reporting a plateau.”
Mr Charkin also added that some countries with more emerging markets have been slow to warm up to the idea of e-readers and the concept of eBooks, but he did insist that it is likely that these markets will grow, thus putting a stop to the plateau that we are currently seeing. “Not for a moment do I think this is the top of the market,” he said as he insisted that we are by no means seeing the end of eBooks in our future.
Fans of print books believe that we are also nowhere near seeing the end of reading our favourite novels on paper, with author Stephen King saying that he believes print books have a long and bright future ahead of them. “I think books are going to be there for a long, long time to come,” he said, commenting on the popularity of books, both print and digital.
Considering the latest figures and comments retrieved from those within the industry, hope amongst those who are lovers of print as well as writers of print will be wondering whether it is time for them to breathe a sigh of relief. If these developments continue, then those wondering if we are close to seeing the death of print books will soon be proved very, very wrong.