Last week, The Guardian published two articles with titles that purported to discuss the decline of ebooks and the resurgence of print in the UK. Additionally, CNN had a story online about the same situation playing out in the US.
The first article, How ebooks lost their shine, is actually more about the bounce back of print books and books as art objects (versus books as reading material). The article even states “The figures from the Publishing Association should be treated with some caution. They exclude self-published books, a sizable market for ebooks. And, according to Dan Franklin, a digital publishing specialist, more than 50% of genre sales are on ebook. Digital book sales overall are up 6%.”
The second article, Screen fatigue sees UK ebook sales plunge 17% as readers return to print, does not make the same note about the statistics but goes more in depth as to the fact that the decline might be attributable to the decline of dedicated ereaders in favor of tablets and cell phones which are harder to read on.
The CNN story gives similar data and ends with a depressing statistic for the US, “A quarter of the population hadn’t read a book of any kind, whether in print, electronic or audio form.”
Both Guardian articles have good points but I think reading all three of the articles together gives a better and fuller picture of the British and US book market and reader engagement.