If I appear in a photo, I look for myself first. Wait. Let me amend that. If I am aware I appear in a photo, I look for myself first. My uncredited guest appearances in the photographs of my wider digital “photo-footprint” are likely to stay beyond my vanity-driven review.
I do the same thing when I read. That’s why a recent Wall Street Journal article about how publishers are reinvesting in printed books and creating new author-to-reader pipelines caught my attention. The article appeared in the October 16, 2017 print edition as “In Books, Print Makes a Stand” and was published online as “Book Publishers Go Back to Basics.”
I see myself in this story.
As a daily reader of books across a range of subjects, I am among the consumers who drove a 4.5 percent increase in printed book revenue last year and an overall total revenue increase of 5 percent in the consumer books industry from 2013 to 2016. The WSJ derived these figures from the Association of American Publishers who also reported that e-book sales in the United States decreased by 17 percent last year.
While the WSJ article attributes part of this resurgence to the popularity of books about the political moment, my fellow travelers are those who are responding to the feel of books as physical objects and a renewed emphasis on design sensibility and beauty in printed books. Seriously. I was on the train a few days ago running my hands across a lovely, textured dust jacket before I started a book.
It’s like I wrote previously on PMC:
“I’m enjoying a refreshed appreciation for printed books as a whole. After a few years of reading electronic books almost exclusively, the luxury of quiet paper bound for a single purpose feels very real. I relish still moments with hardcovers in particular.”
While I always look for myself, I’m glad I’m not alone in my refreshed appreciation for printed books. Whether prodigal paperphiles like me are driven by “screen-fatigue” or the sensuous charms of the physical object, if there is a market the products will come. Print for us. Come get your money.
66 percent of U.S. respondents to a recent Two Sides survey of consumer preferences related to paper and print believe it is important to “switch off” and enjoy printed books and magazines. That practice is absolutely part of my new and improved lifestyle. More water. More exercise. Less sleep and more coffee (I said “improved” not perfect). And definitely more time with quiet paper.
How have your book-buying habits changed (or not) over the past few years? Do you recognize yourself in recent trends?
Andy Solages connects people and organizations with technologies to improve professional experiences and business results. Andy is a monthly contributor to Print Media Centr’s News from The Printerverse and a regular participant in #PrintChat on Twitter.