Reading Numbers Aren’t on The Decline, Despite What People Think

Sure, there may be less people picking up physical copies of books, but the internet allows for many different forms of reading.

Image Source: @jessmreadsbooks/ Instagram

While print books are still one of the most popular reading mediums, the internet and social media allows readers from any age group to access newer forms of material. Whether that be a long-form narrative style article they find online, fan-fiction or self-published works on applications such as WattPad and Tumblr, or just plain old e-books that can be accessed through Kindle and iBooks… just know, books are being read!

Gallup conducted a survey in 2017 and concluded that Americans were reading books at almost the same rate that they were in 2002, despite social media and digital technologies constantly competing for our attention. While sixteen percent of survey participants said they don’t read at all, forty-eight percent read up to ten a year, with the remaining thirty-five percent reading upwards of eleven books a year. Or, if you’re a part of the bookstagram world, you read anywhere from sixty to the early hundreds… casually.

It was predicted that print publication would die off with the introduction of e-books and e-readers. While this was the case when e-books first became popular, the ever-increasing price of digital books started to throw readers off purchasing them. In early 2018, it was reported that e-book sales were down for this exact reason. Print publications started to gain popularity once again as consumers were only having to pay a couple of dollars more for the physical copy of a book.

Amazon continues to change the game and they haven’t limited themselves at all. By introducing Kindle Unlimited, readers who sign up pay a fee a month and have access to thousands of e-books. This feature has had a slight effect on sales numbers as subscription fees are tallied and distributed among authors and publishers, unlike traditional sales which benefits authors and publishers directly.

It’s platforms like Amazon (Kindle) and Apple iBooks that allow authors to self-publish and sell their work for a small fee, opening readers up to more books than they could ever dream of. Sure, there’s less physical book stores littered around towns, but the rise of digital book stores is astounding. It doesn’t hurt to support your local book store but the price of e-books, in this context, and those purchased from online book stores is very appealing, especially to those who fly through novels.Now, the majority of e-books can be purchased for a ridiculously small fee; just the other day, I managed to snag a bundle of twenty books for under $2… you wouldn’t even be able to do that in a second-hand book store!

According to GoodReader, audiobooks are the fastest growing segment in the digital publishing industry. With readers reaching for services such as Audible (Amazon’s audiobook service), the number of publications being published in audio form rose by 33.9% in 2017. The flexibility and accessibility of listening to an audiobook is one of the key selling features. They’re great for listening when cleaning the house, a gym session, and a road trip and the statistics that have been unveiled showcase that.

Adult and young adult fiction proves time and time again to be the most popular genres when it comes to book buying. The dystopian genre had its moment to shine with titles such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Animal Farm being featured frequently. Like everything, current trends influence was it being picked up. Popular TV shows and movies influence reading habits which is often why sales of a particular style of book will spike when its corresponding show or movie is released. In saying this, viewers of a popular television series or movie are more likely to pick up the original novel that the new media was adapted from, to compare likeness and see what the original creator intended for the world.

Are you #TeamEBook or #TeamHardCopy? Let us know your preferred reading method in the comments.