Five years ago, the future of physical books didn’t look bright. Kindle sales had reached an all-time high, Borders was closing up the last of its stores, and experts warned of the death of the printed word just around the corner. Now, in 2016, it appears as if devotees of traditional books can breathe a sigh of relief. As The New York Times reports, most people still prefer hard copies to digital books.
A recent report from the Pew Research Centre found that 65 per cent of US adults said they read a physical book in the past year. That’s compared to 28 per cent of respondents who said they read an e-book, and 14 per cent who reported listening to an audiobook. Just six per cent of people described themselves as exclusively digital readers. Thirty-eight per cent said they only read from printed texts, while 28 per cent weren’t as picky and got their reading done on both formats. Of those surveyed, 26 per cent hadn’t read a book at all in the past year.
Rather than burying the print publishing industry as was once predicted, e-books have remained fairly unthreatening. The percentage of Americans who reported reading a physical book in this most recent survey has remained unchanged since 2012. On the digital side, e-book sales dropped by 11 per cent in 2015. So rest easy old-school book fans: The smell of musty pages is safe for now.