Today I came across the results of a survey conducted by Publishing Technology that sent that giddy child in a candy store feeling throughout my body. The survey asked people between the ages of 18-34 about their reading habits and how they get their information/news. At first, I braced myself for what I thought was inevitable. I thought the results would surely show that all things digital were on the rise, slowly killing the art of reading a print book since that is what we are continually told is the current publishing trend.
But, the results were quite the opposite. Here are the two results that might have just made my entire year:
-When millennials (individuals who were born between the early 1980’s through the early 2000’s) were asked what they read, 71 % said print books and 63% said print news/magazines.
-Second, when they were asked how they acquire print books, 47% said bookstores and 37% said libraries. Being in the publishing industry, I hear about how bookstores are always looking over their shoulder and competing with online retailers, but these numbers say just the opposite. I made a recent a visit to Portland, Oregon where of course the famed Powell’s Books was one of the top spots to visit on my list. Although I do realize this is one of the most popular bookstores in the country, I was still surprised to see how PACKED it was.I went there twice, both at weird hours, and both times it was PACKED. I always love seeing people enjoying a bookstore rather than surfing the internet for their next read. Looking back on this experience, it was really awesome to see these survey results played out in real life.
With self-published authors quickly taking over more and more of the publishing stage I think these results are very important for them to take a look at. A decent amount of self-published authors just release e-books and they might be losing a large part of their audience. That being said, each format has its importance and each is necessary in its own right. I am a big proponent of both formats. E-books open up a world of unknowns for an unpolished writer, a medium through which they can showcase their work in the crazy stew that is the publishing universe. But, we must also remember that print books are indeed still very much alive.
You should check out the full results for yourself here.