The launch of the Kindle in 2007 seemed to start the belief that the print industry is on its way to its demise. However, this couldn't be farther from the truth.
How many consumers still read print
Even though e-readers are popular, only 4 percent of those surveyed by Pew use them alone. The majority read screens and print books together, with 76 percent of Americans reading books in any format. However, only 38 percent of adults last year used e-books alone, as opposed to the 69 percent who still read from printed literature.
"After years of exponential growth, e-book sales have recently slowed resulting in a noticeable shift to print books," Jonathan Stolper, senior vice president at Nielsen Book, told Lima Ohio. "However, print book growth in recent months can also be attributed to the rise in popularity of children's and young adult books."
Despite the bevy of electronic distractions, including smartphones, TV shows, games and e-readers, printed books seem to satisfy readers' eyes more. This has been an area of concern of the print industry, as many have been nervous that the e-reader will overcome the print book.
Why the public prefers paper
The Guardian reported that even though electronic devices are included in many aspects of American lives, people have reasons to prefer print products regardless of the other options available. Additionally, on top of Americans preferring printed books over electronic, people seem to be reading more, according to Lima Ohio. One of the preferences is the feel of a printed book – the feeling of turning the pages and having page numbers, rather than the percentage e-books offer in their place.
"You can't lay it on your face when you need a little nap," Bobbie Chappell, a long time Book ReViews volunteer, told Lima Ohio. "I like smelling it, I like holding it, I like going back and forth, and I'm bad on the computer."
Electronic screens seem to be just the next evolution in the growth of print, moving from pen to typewriter to computer. However, paper has always been there from the very beginning, and it's showing no sign of disappearing soon. The preference for paper products will always be there.
How distributors can take advantage of paper-love
Despite the misconception that the print industry has been struggling with the popularity of e-books, companies can take advantage of the obvious love of hard-copy products. Since consumers have the love of feeling, smelling and using paper, distributors can use these emotions to market and cater to the public.
Pew found that women are more likely to read a book than men. Information like this can help publishers determine how to approach their audience. Age groups are also a huge factor in the paper-preferred audience, with the source finding that only 35 percent of 50 to 60-year-olds would read at least one e-book.
While the public has the perception that e-books are taking over print, it's the industry's responsibility to change that outlook. They have to advertise well and include statistics to show that physical copies are never going away.