Not so long ago, there was a fear that every mom and pop bookstore in the world was on borrowed time. The advent of e-readers like the Kindle and Nook had everyone downloading and reading digital books. For those of us who love physical books, it was a dark time. Thankfully, e-books haven’t completely taken over the reading world as many predicted. In fact, independent bookstores are also making a serious comeback.
The resurgence of independent bookstores has been steadily climbing over the past several years. More importantly, those independent bookstores are generating some serious sales. Last year, the American Booksellers Association reported that sales were up around 9% over the previous year. The trend isn’t just isolated to American bookstores. The UK reported book sales of nearly 1.59 billion GBP last year. If that doesn’t indicate some good news on the horizon for indies, we don’t know what does!
There are plenty of theories online as to why print is making such a big comeback. One suggested reason is that physical books are sturdier than e-readers. Good luck finishing an e-novel after dropping your Kindle in the bathtub! You can toss a paperback in your backpack and go hiking, only to drop your pack off a cliff – and you’ll never have to worry about damaging your book so much that you can’t read it. Can you say the same about an e-reader?
For many, the sight of a big stack of books on your nightstand (waiting to be read, of course) is extremely comforting. Those who despise clutter tend to favor the e-books for this reason, though.
If you’ve ever bought a classic book from a used-book store, there’s a chance you’ve seen someone’s name written inside the front cover, or maybe an inscription like “To Becky on your birthday, from your Uncle Jay and Auntie Jane.” You have stop and think about that. What kind of life did Becky go on to live after reading her gifted copy of The Wizard of Oz? You’re just not going to experience that kind of history with a Kindle.
While e-books certainly have a time and place, it would (thankfully) seem that print books are here to stay, and they’ll always have a place on the shelves of true book lovers.