Printed book doomsayers have been proved wrong yet again as figures for book sales in 2015 have trumped 2014 numbers and continue to climb.
According to data from Nielson Bookscan, 571 million more books were sold worldwide in 2015 than in 2014, while e-books accounted for only 25 per cent of total book sales, up slightly from 23 per cent in 2014.
The success of printed book sales can be attributed to popular titles generating major sales, such as Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, the increased demand for adult colouring books, and a big rise in children’s books
The impressive turnaround in book sales is welcomed by Victoria-based Doncaster Bookbinders. Owner Jeremy Dart says his business ‘isn’t too surprised’ by the prodigal son return to hard-copy reading, and is excited by the success generated by a renewed interest in printed books.
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“Reading from a hard-back book is a more tactile experience for consumers, and I think screen reading technology has seen its peak” says Dart.
“People started to embrace the technology, but then took a step back to print, which is great for our business.”
Dart says some customers are even requesting printed hard-back covers for pieces of technology such as the iPad or the notorious ebook, and his business is happy to diversify wherever the demand lies.
“It is now becoming fashionable to combine tech with print, and the bookbinding industry will now walk alongside technology.”
Doncaster Bookbinders is a small niche bookbindery specialising in books, photo albums and business presentation, and is a family-owned company in business for over 30 years.
Dart says Doncaster does much of its binding by hand, and is one of the last niche bookbinders in Victoria.
According to the data in the Nielson Bookscan, many large retailers are now turning back to hard-copy book sales to generate profit, including online giant Amazon and Aussie department store Big W.
This positive reflection on the bookbinding industry has smaller binderies optimistic about the future of book sales, and Dart says, ‘printed books will always have a future’.
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