Hey Print, Good Work in 2015

printvsdigital1It was seventeen years ago that the e-reader was introduced to consumers, notes Jenny Shank in MediaShift. And while the technology has wrought enormous changes on the way we publish, market and purchase books, it hasn’t changed one fundamental fact:

People like to read in print.

“Although it looked like the e-book tide was going to continue rolling in, this year the momentum of e-books, particularly among those produced by major publishers, seemed to slow,” Shank explains. “Old-fashioned print reading showed signs of resurgence.”

“Mark Zuckerberg introduced a reading group that didn’t make much of a splash, Shank continues. “Self-publishing continued to surge, which led to some growing pains as Amazon tweaked how some indie authors would be paid. Finally, an old-fashioned format, the email newsletter, continues to enjoy newfound popularity.”

Many people have been surprised by the recent drop in e-book sales, especially after the heady years of 2008-2010. Shank quotes New York Times journalist Alexandra Alter as saying “While analysts once predicted that e-books would overtake print by 2015, digital sales have instead slowed sharply.”

Declining e-book sales figures dovetail with reports that indie bookstores are regaining some of what they’ve lost due to the recession and Amazon, says Shank, citing stats from the Association of American Publishers.


Print magazines are sharing in the resurgence, a trend that we’ve written about before, because, let’s face it, people like reading magazines in print.

Chava Gourarie wrote for the Columbia Journalism Review this month about the return of print magazines, noting especially that many publications that began as digital entities are now publishing magazines on paper, including Tablet, Politico, and the Pitchfork Review,” Shank continues.

Even print newsletters, long since eclipsed by email, are regaining popularity as a connection vehicle. Print continues to be a medium that is capable of deep engagement, and savvy brands know that print can be their secret weapon to stand out from the herd.

Seems 2015 is the year we finally admitted that yes, most of us are print geeks at heart.