Book sales on the rise amidst falling e-readership

Book sales on the rise amidst falling e-readership
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Kristen Cates taught her daughter, Violet, to love reading at an early age, just as her mother did for her, years ago.

“She’s been getting read to since she was, before she could walk, and my mom did the same thing. She read to me until I was old enough to read on my own,” said Cates.

10-year-old Violet Barlow is an old soul who calls this place “book heaven,” and prefers to do her reading with a physical copy.

“I like holding a book and reading it because, like, you can actually put book marks in it and you don’t have to search the web to find it,” said Barlow.

Barlow represents a growing number of readers, ditching digital for traditional, opting to buy a physical book, something that bodes well for bookstore owners like Bob Wolfe, who admits e-readers initially hurt his business in 2011.

“People were getting those for Christmas. Family members were buying them for family that they knew read and that was hurting us, but they’re not even competition with us anymore. They would be good, you know, if you traveled, or if you were overseas. I can understand that, but they want the tangible book. They wanna read it,” explained Wolfe, owner of “Always Buying Books” in Joplin.

Cates likes the convenience of e-readers, but agrees that books have certain advantages.

“The book doesn’t die on you. If you don’t have a charger, you don’t have to stop and find one. You can just keep going,” said Cates.

Whether it’s that old book smell, or just the feeling of turning a page, these readers say books are here to stay.

“They’ve lasted this long and electronics keep constantly changing, so I really think books are probably here to stay where electronics eventually, it’s just not gonna be as useful,” said Cates.

The Census Bureau estimates bookstore sales hit nearly $700 million dollars in sales in 2018.

Since 2013, print sales have been steadily increasing, up more than 10%, as e-reader sales continue to decline.

Research actually suggests that consumers are more likely to trust and understand information when it’s read on paper.