The Evolution of the Novel – Part 2 – Will Print Survive?



For most of us, the act of sitting down and reading a book is something we can remember doing as a child. For some it may bring good memories, maybe of getting read to as a child by a parent or teacher, or possibly the first time you discovered a love of reading that would stay with you for the rest of your life. It could also bring back dreaded memories of being forced to read in school. The question is, will this be something that future generations ever get to experience?

The last decade has brought about some radical changes to the way we enjoy our entertainment and get our information. The digital takeover began with the newspaper, magazine, and music industries. The one thing all three had in common? None of them were prepared for the conversion and all of them have paid a price for it. For magazines and newspapers it meant laying off staff, altering business models or just plain closing up shop. For the music industry it meant losing money, lots of it, before adjusting to the downloading craze. Now it just means mostly bad music.

Now that the novels we love have made the transition to the digital age, what does that mean for the good ole fashion, hold in your hands, book? Will traditional books follow the CD into obscurity? Maybe not.

old-books-bible-candleWould you believe that according to a report by The Washington Post, millenials actually prefer reading books as opposed to digital? Among the reasons listed that young digital natives prefer print include the feeling of holding it in their hands, the lack of distractions, and yes, even the smell of it. This goes for not only leisure reading, but also textbooks. That’s right, some kids would prefer to lug around those heavy things rather than read it on a screen.

Well now we know that the younger generations still likes print, what about the mature reader like myself? Are we still buying in print, or have we all sold our bookshelves on Craigslist and downloaded the latest Kindle App?

According to GeekWire, print may be making a comeback. In this article from January of 2015, Frank Catalano explains that print books were up 2.4% in 2014, the highest rate since the E-book explosion of 2010. Textbooks are also on the rise in print format. Digital sales on the other hand have started to plateau.

So for now it looks like reading a book may just become cool again. That’s good news for any of us who actually prefer the feel of a book in our hands and like the idea of having a bunch of books collecting dust on the shelf.


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