Commerce has quickly moved toward more digitized environments in the past few years, leading many analysts to begin forecasting a paperless era not so far off into the future. However, many of the predictions involving the death of the print industry have proven inaccurate thus far, and this can be seen across a range of sub-categories within the sector, including literature, business documents and marketing collateral.
In each of these segments, the print industry has proven resilient in the face of what is otherwise seen as an unstoppable force in the global economy. One of the more interesting examples of this steadfast nature is the book publishing arena, which many believed to be facing an end very soon thanks to electronic books. Suffice it to say that textbooks and other printed items in this market are still popular, even with younger generations, and show no signs of going away any time soon.
A look inside
Publishers Weekly recently reported that the print book industry enjoyed 9 percent growth with respect to the number of units shipped between the second and third weeks of March. Studies have shown that younger adults who would tend to be the most common users of electronic books are largely citing a preference for paper copies today, defying some of the expectations that had spread before 2010.
This is such an important segment of the population to watch because it will represent the largest category of consumers in the coming years, and the behaviors of those who fall into this generation will dictate market outcomes. According to Publishers Weekly, juvenile literature had the best performance in the study period, with 24 percent growth in nonfiction compared to the same week in 2015, and 14 percent higher sales in fiction.
The road ahead
Now, this news and similar stories regarding the profitability of the print industry do not mean that players involved can rest easily. Rather, there is plenty of work that needs to be done with respect to modernizing the management and general makeup of print assets and investments.
Companies that still rely on paper need to update their policies, while contenders in the print marketplace should be innovating with respect to their service models and product offerings. So long as the industry continues to evolve alongside shifting market demands and conditions, print will remain a crucial industry in the coming years.