Retail experts have been predicting for some years that the high street book shop would be no longer due to the ever increasing rise of digital technology.
Digital book sales have been steadily on the rise and book stores have started to disappear from our streets. The biggest drop in book sales was seen in 2011 and 2012 when business fell by approximately 10%.
When experts make predictions on future events or trends they don’t always get it right. I suppose seeing into the future is just not that easy……
Surprisingly (to some) in early 2015 the downward book sale trend halted somewhat. There was more of a surprise midway through the same year as sales actually increased by approximately 2% and by the end of the year sales rose by 2.5%. This was the first annual gain since 2007.
This increase continued into the first six months of 2016 when there was an increase of over 6%. This is a dramatic revival for a media that was expected to disappear by many experts.
Is this a good time to publish a book?
There is never a bad time to publish a book and self publishing could not be easier. The process of writing a book and formatting it is still the same. But you have a choice whether to go for a printed book, an e-book or for both.
Certain books clearly lend themselves to a printed option, having something tactile is sometimes the obvious choice. With digital printing, small runs and printing on demand are achievable. This has opened up the scope and lessened the risk on larger print runs.
Book Festivals are still popular
We love the city we are based in, which is Edinburgh. Edinburgh like many other cities hosts an annual book festival which was established in 1983. It has grown year on year and now hosts over 700 events and is enjoyed by all age groups. Around 220,000 visitors come along to its home at Charlotte Square Gardens in the heart of the city. If you visit the festival, you can witness first-hand the enthusiasm for the printed book. There are queues for talks and book signings, massive interest in the workshops and storytelling.
Find out more about Edinburgh International Book Festival, https://www.edbookfest.co.uk.
Printed Book v Digital eBook
We are not going to see a huge influx of book stores opening up on our local high streets but what is reassuring is that the industry has stabilised and is now finding its place alongside the digital book. I personally love to read a printed book, I love an illustrated book and there nothing better to see a large printed photography book in all its splendour.
So do I purchase and read digital ebooks? Yes of course I do. Reading a digital version makes total sense and gives me the flexibility I need. The value of the digital market is now huge and cannot be ignored. Certainly being a publisher and ignoring digital would be foolhardy.
It is good to see stability and printed books living alongside the digital world offering something that digital cannot compete with. Something tactile, the physical product, something you can be proud to see on your bookshelf.