Book lovers are always worried about the death of written word as instant gratification entertainment has become more readily available, but it looks like we have nothing to worry about. All the statistics show that sales are up, people are reading more, and those precious book stores that we all love are still doing well.
Let’s look at the numbers as provided by the Guardian and Nielsen BookScan:
2018 saw a year-on-year book sale growth at $28 million.
2018 will top 2016’s total sales of $2.02 billion in books from both American and UK sellers.
Britain’s largest book seller, Waterstones, made its first profit since the 2008 financial crisis.
This is the first year since the advent of Amazon where the number of independent booksellers went up and not down.
An article at Quartz has a surprising theory on why we’re turning back to the printed page; we want to disconnect more from our phones.
Perhaps surprisingly, Vox’s The Goods attributes this growth to our phones. By reading off-line, writes Nisha Chittal, we’re trying to mediate our screen times, driving up demand for paper books. On the other hand, when we are on our phones, we’d like everyone to know how well-read we are, usually via virtue-signaling #100booksin2018 Instagram posts—and that means buying books to show off. “All this bookstagramming has led to a thriving space for book lovers on social media,” Chittal writes, “and that’s been a good thing for independent bookstores too — because it plays to their key strength: creating community.” Booksellers are growing wise to our swipe-happy ways, and making sure their wares and whereabouts have a home and community online, where they’re lodged firmly in our minds and feeds.
I’m very excited about this news. Reading will always be a great joy, and it’s good to know the written word has a healthy future.