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Readers loyal to print

10 November 2014

Latest figures from the States suggest that readers are not parting with their print books, in spite of the growth in ebook sales, which have reached $8.5 billion in value worldwide. In the US the figures show that 23% of all male adult readers and 33% of females ones read ebooks.

But global print still stands at $53.9 billion so there's a lot of catching up for ebooks to do to overtake, let alone wipe out, print books. What's more 46% of US Internet users said they only read printed books while 15% read more e-books than printed books. At the moment just 6% of Internet users said they exclusively read their books in electronic format.
Ebook sales growth in the US has fallen, rather staggeringly, to just 5% and revenue is stagnating at just over $3 billion.

So what's happened to the forecasts that ebooks would wipe out print books, totally replacing them in five years? Well, the main thing seems to be that the rapid growth in the early years gave everyone the impression that ebooks' take-up would continue to soar. In fact what seems to have happened is that the genres where it does work well, in fiction and especially genre fiction, have seen rapid growth, but this hasn't spread in anything like the same way to areas like non-fiction and children's books.

The other thing is that not everyone has reacted in the same way to ebooks and there is a core group of readers, possibly in the end quite a large one, which continues to prefer to access its reading in print form.