Digital didn’t kill the paperback book 1

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image by Kittisak at FreeDigitalPhotos

image by Kittisak at FreeDigitalPhotos

Digital didn’t kill the paperback book


Ever since ebooks took off, people have been predicting print books were a thing of the past; that the sky would fall on traditional publishing; that only the old die hards would continue to buy paper books.


You know, like video killed the radio star… :)


Well, over the Christmas period, I definitely saw evidence that would suggest otherwise.


My son loves reading, but has never embraced digital books. So I went down to our local Dymocks, a chain book store in Hobart, to get him the latest Percy Jackson book by Rick Riordan.


When I got there, the shop was jam packed. I’m not talking about 5 or 6 people but 30 or 40 in the space of the few minutes I was in the store, with more filing in and out each minute.



Believe me, for Hobart, that’s a crowd. Then again, maybe it was just a one-off thing.


But a week later, I had to return as I didn’t realise one of the books I’d bought he already had. This time, there were even more people inside the store. Young people, old people, women, men, teens, little kids… I had to literally fight my way into the store through more than 70 people.


Many of the books I tried to buy had already sold out.


As an author, it was an encouraging sign. The ebook didn’t kill the paperback, just like DVDs didn’t kill the cinema experience, or cable TV kill video stores.


In fact, many studies back this up.


The following graph by statistics gurus, Statista shows that between January 2012 and March 2013, ebook sales only accounted for a maximum of 31.5 percent of book sales in the United States.



Another study, done by Voxburn and printed in The Guardian shows 62 percent of 16 – 24 year olds still prefer a physical book to a digital ebook. This is despite the fact that this age group are the biggest users of digital technology.


I know that’s the case with me. While I am happy to read books on my iPad, I still prefer the feel of a real book in my hands. There is something visceral about books that cannot be recreated with a bunch of coded binary 0s and 1s. Holding a book takes me back to my childhood, helps me to physically relax in a way technology cannot. I also have a greater connection to physical books, and have carted half of mine around the world with me, begging my husband not to throw them away like some useless piece of junk.


I have yet to feel that connection to an ebook no matter how great the read.


How about you? Do you prefer paper or digital, and why?

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About Riley Banks

Riley Banks is the author of Vampire Origins, and The William S Club. She blogs about books, entertainment, and writing. For more information on Riley Banks and her books, go to

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One thought on “Digital didn’t kill the paperback book

  • Tyson Adams

    Transitional periods are never short, and remember that records are still sold, despite how long they have been on the outer. So the DTB has essentially shrunk from 100% in 2002 to ~65-70% now with most of that change happening since Xmas 2008 (which coincides roughly with the proportion of tablet+ereader owners out there). And remember those industry stats are biased heavily by the non-fiction, cook book, school and academic sales, with a lot of genre fiction being more like 50/50 now.

    Most people were talking 2020 before the market maxed at 80%. I find that the Pew stats on adoption are more interesting: and They clearly show that the growth is not slowing and that readers are embracing e-books. And at the current trends, it will be about 80% market share by about 2020.

    But I posted recently on my blog how I thought we were missing the point about the market. We are one piece of tech away from e-readers being redundant technology and a fresh market opening up for stores with exclusive content. This isn’t really about DTB or e-books, it is about access to reading material in a market place that is no longer analog.

    My thoughts on e-books vs DTB: and and