Print is Still King

Printed books are not going away anytime soon. A recent study supports this statement.


The Ricoh Americas Corporation in its new study titled “The Evolution of the Book Industry: Implications for U.S. Book Manufacturers and Printers” had some interesting findings.

The most interesting of the findings was that nearly 70% of consumers feel it is unlikely that they will give up printed books by 2016. Consumers appear to have an emotional and sensory attachment to printed books. The four top reasons consumers gave for preferring printed books were:

  1. Lack of eye strain when reading from paper copy vs. an ebook.
  2. The look and feel of paper.
  3. The ability to add it to a library or bookshelf.
  4. The ability to share/pass on to others.

In this study, students also reported they preferred print text books because reading a digital text on a PC or tablet tempted them to other distractions on these devices.

Another interesting finding in this study was that about 60% of ebooks downloaded are never read in the U.S. Since many ebooks are offered for free or on a $.99 special, this may signal that many ebook users download these books, but then often don’t get around to reading them.

Print continues to be alive and well, and may be for years to come. I know that our BookCrash bloggers who review books for Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) member publishers by and large prefer print books. Out of the last 130 requests for a book to review, only five of these requests have been for ebooks. That means only about 3% of the bloggers prefer ebooks over print books.

Yes, ebooks are growing. However, print is still the dominant medium. To glean the most sales, you should plan to continue publishing your books in both print and ebook versions for years to come.

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