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The Reports of Print’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

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ebooks-printEarlier this year, a Wall Street Journal editorial insisted that we should not burn our books and that print was here to stay. While the piece was vague about who is actually burning print books, the piece offered a slew of fascinating statistics from various studies.

All of the statistics surrounding the studies point to a slowing in the e-book industry.

  • By the end of 2012, only 16% of Americans had purchased an e-book
  • During 2012, the percentage of American adults that had read an e-book rose from 16% to 23%
  • Worse, 59% of Americans have no interest in even reading an e-book
  • Conversely, 89% of print book readers actually read a print book in the last year while only 30% of those read an e-book
  • Sales of e-readers dropped by 36% during 2012, which many attribute to the rise in tablets

Overall, fiction dominates sales for e-books. The Wall Street Journal attributes this to the nature of fictional books, which people tend to read once and then toss. However, readers of literature or history tend to hold onto and cherish the books they have read.

Another aspect, not mentioned in the editorial, is that although there are loads of history books available in e-book format, there are many more not available. Hence, the library of a history enthusiast could easily include a healthy dose of books in both formats, the present writer included.

However, if publishers of history works could tackle some basic issues including availability, competitive pricing, and other components, they could quickly see their e-book sales rise.

By Scott Manning
Online Learning Tips, Student Contributor

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