Print Boom: Bookstores are Up and Paper is Back

readingbookU. S. Census Bureau data shows a resurgence in bookstore sales. For many, it’s “paper, all the way” and always will be.

For book lover Sabrina McKay-Jones, the choice for reading material is clear: “Paper, all the way. Paper,” she said in an interview with Mackenzie Scott in NNCNOw.

She’s not alone. While ebooks have undoubtedly had an impact on paper book sales, the industry is seeing a turn-around.

“In the beginning it did impact it because I think a lot of people like to jump on the bandwagon [and] try something new,” said Barb Plumb, Owner of the Amazing Alonzo bookstore in Duluth, Minnesota.

Scott reports this seems to be reversing, saying “…according to Publisher Weekly, in the last year publishers say e-book sales went down while print sales went up.”

We reported similar findings last fall, as bookstores showed signs of being much healthier than previously thought and ebook sales slumped. One bookstore owner saw her sales “shoot back up and isn’t surprised,” Scott notes, citing information from Plumb.

It’s pure love for the medium and what it brings to the experience that is driving this, McKay-Jones believes.

“Just to feel the paper in your hand, to be able to turn the page and be able to write in your own book. It makes you feel there, it makes you feel within the book and I just feel like our world is too immersed in electronics,” she said.

Indeed, marginalia and its importance to the reading experience is just one reason why this love of print can’t be dismissed as mere old-fashioned thinking.

Recent U.S. Census Bureau data backs this up, Scott reports, noting a 2.5% rise in bookstore sales in 2015. People do indeed like to read in print; digital has yet to be able to replicate the printed experience and what it brings.

In our view, it’s not likely to ever get there.