Bibliophagists, Rejoice! Physical Books Are Making A Comeback
There is something about a physical book that will never go out of style. Redolent of paper and ink, and immersive to the point of escapism, literature is eternal. With recent data from the U.S. Census bureau, that may be truer than ever. In an ever-increasing digital world, physical book sales were up significantly in the first half of 2016, over 6 percent.
The previous year saw a 1.9 percent increase in book sales, the first gain seen in the last six years. Readers appear to be shifting away from digital devices and e-readers, and opting for the old fashioned paperbacks.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) may have been partly responsible for the comeback, or at least predicted this trend, after opening up brick-and-mortar Amazon Bookstores in shopping malls. Amazon knows that a physical location can actually be an asset for a business, if the e-commerce presence can likewise be leveraged properly.
Digital fatigue appears to be setting in. Even the younger generation is choosing physical books, with 83 percent of 18–24-year-olds who bought books in July, purchasing hard copies.
Donald Trump may have also contributed to one book store's top line, after news broke that his campaign spent $55,055 at a Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) in May. Internet speculation of what the purchase may have been has run wild.
Barns & Noble's Q1 earnings release in September should provide more details on the resurrection of physical book sales. Barnes & Noble did note in the last quarter that the reduced physical bookstore competition continues to benefit the company.
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