Print Books Made a Comeback in 2014

[responsive]readingbook[/responsive]It was a good year for print books.

By the summer of last year, print books were dramatically outselling e-books, with digital titles making up less than one in four sales. And by year’s end, print continued strong, with unit sales of print books rising 2% in total over 2013.  According to Jim Milliot in Publishers Weekly, print is back for books.

“Unit sales of print books sold through outlets that report to Nielsen BookScan rose 2.4% in 2014, with total units topping 635 million,” he writes, noting that the largest gains occurred in the retail and club channel (including bookstores and Amazon), while mass merchandiser channels fell off by 1.8%.

BookScan, Milliot notes, captures about 80% of the U.S. market (including Walmart as of 2013), so it’s not an exhaustive picture.

“Still, the 2014 figures are further evidence that print books are selling better than they have since sales of e-books exploded in 2010 and Borders closed its doors in 2011,” says Milliot.

“Total print-unit sales bottomed out in 2012, falling to 590 million, but in the two years since then, units have risen 7.6% (helped to some degree by the addition of Walmart to BookScan).

And it looks like the younger generation of readers made the biggest impact, “with sales in juvenile nonfiction up 15.6% and sales of juvenile fiction ahead 12.0% over 2013,” he continues.

Adult nonfiction also rose in 2014, while adult fiction saw a decline.

The category most heavily affected by e-book sales appears to have been mass market paperbacks, which showed a decline of 10.3% this past year.