Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Another spate of ominous statistics have been in the press lately. Again, I am struck by their repetitive and somewhat contradictory nature.

If hardbacks have been eclipsed by e-books, why are their numbers flat or slightly down year over year? Not much of an eclipse. If this is the case, then adding the number of readers necessary to say that they are being outsold by e-books means an awesome number of people are now reading books who were not previously doing so. Some among them will inevitably discover that actual books are better for them and they will become actual book buyers.

There are also statistics in the press (now I am thinking of Campus Marketplace, a NACS publication) which show a clear and strong preference for actual books among college age people. This is striking on so many obvious levels I won't get into it here. Suffice it to say that this group is as important to all of us booksellers as any, and they don't like e-books anywhere near as much as they like real books.

In July of 2010 Amazon said something like paper would be eclipsed by e-books by the end of 2011. Now an oddly similarly worded phrase shows up at Huffington Post. Still trying to eclipse, they're not quite convincing everybody.

Let's just keep reading our real books. The market will sort itself out.

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