Interesting snippet in the latest issue of The Author magazine, saying that the growth of ebook sales in the UK was slower in the first half of 2013, and the decline of printed books was not quite so precipitous, although it still fell by 4.5% in value, 4.2% in volume. It didn’t give figures for ebooks. The article is not available online, so no link I’m afraid. The piece added:

There are signs that the ebook market may be slowing, and Nielsen BookScan has warned that it will be a challenge to maintain the strength of sales seen in the last couple of years in part generated by the enthusiasm of book buyers purchasing their first e-reader and loading it with content. More encouragingly, there are signs that the decline of the printed book market is slowing as the ebook market growth decelerates. If nothing else, perhaps the balance between the print and ebook markets is at last starting to stabilise.

As a print-lover, this gives me some encouragement – although “slower decline” is still a decline.

On a personal note, I’ve had a Kindle for a couple of years now, but still prefer real books. Because I am living abroad, and am not settled in a single place, I am almost exclusively buying ebooks at the moment. But when I’m settled in one place, I think I’ll go back to buying almost exclusively print books, only using the Kindle for an occasional 99p punt on an author I’m not sure about.

How about you? What percentage of the books you buy are ebooks vs printed books?

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Sandra DanbyCurtis ChambersLindsay BamfieldFran SlaterWendy Recent comment authors
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Nice article, Andrew! Nice to know that print books are making a comeback. I have read only a few ebooks – two or three – and like you I love the printed word.

Delia (Postcards from Asia)

It will be interesting to see what is going to happen in 10-15 years, when the new “digital generation” is all grown up. Will they choose ebooks over printed books? Now the concept of ebook is fairly new and people are still experimenting, but when both options will be around for a long time, I’m curious to see how that will go. I’ve only read a couple of ebooks, one was yours, A Virtual Love. I still prefer printed books because for me reading is not just about the text – the weight of the book, the cover, the paper… Read more »

Brian Joseph

I must sheepishly admit that I have fallen ion love with e books. I love the connivence as well as the features (easy highlighting, search function, internet tie in, etc.) As for the tactile value of owning a book, I tend to value that mostly for higher quality hardcovers. I never owned many of these anyway.

My biggest regret is the decline of the independent t bookstore that this trend has precipitated.


[…] Interesting snippet in the latest issue of The Author magazine, saying that the growth of ebook sale… […]


Yes, the slower decline is the take away – even if there wasn’t a decline nothing’s set in stone. I have a lot of ebooks but most are free. There are a few digital publishers I’ve bought books from but I do still prefer print and dream of a Beauty and the Beast library. I think the novelty aspect is very true. It’s great having a ereader, but after a while books start to seem the same, because aside from the story and author they are.

Claire 'Word by Word'

Thanks for your comment on my blog Andrew, and thanks to Vishy for making the connection. Good to see you also reading the Peirene novellas, we are fortunate to have access to such an excellent collection of contemporary European fiction. I love the printed version of books and of course the physical bookshelf. I couldn’t imagine not having bookshelves. But I also read on the kindle and love that it is not necessary to purchase a physical copy of each of the books I read. I do think I read more as a result of having the convenience of the… Read more »

Jackie Cangro

Since I commute by subway, ebooks have been a terrific help to my lower back. 🙂 I can now carry think, juicy hardcover titles in an easy to carry format. But I still love and buy paper books. I love looking at the covers and being able to flip back and forth easily. In fact, I just bought a new copy of Walden last week as my old copy had never been returned after I lent it out (I can’t blame the person!) That’s not a book I want on an e-reader.


I love my Kindle, but I’ll never replace my books with it. I find it’s perfect for testing a cheap book or if I want to read something immediately. However, if I love a Kindle book I’ll probably buy it in paperback.

It’s perfect for when, like yourself, you’ve not got a permanent base or your travelling. Yet, nothing feels quite like a physical book, bookshelves stacked with books make me instantly happier – you don’t get that with a Kindle. There’s no way to pretentiously show off your shelves, ha!

Michael E. Henderson

I read an article from earlier this year in the Wall Street Journal, which essentially said that the ebook was a flash in the pan. It’s rate of increase is declining, and is basically a fad. Wrong. It’s a natural part of the life cycle of a new technology that it’s rate of increase will decline, just as with paper books it’s natural that their rate of decline will decline. But it’s still declining. I love paper books too. I only got a Kindle last year. With the improved technology, such as is available in the Kindle Paperwhite, the print… Read more »

Michelle Davidson Argyle

I absolutely buy more print books than eBooks. About 80% print and 20% eBook. I don’t think print books will ever completely go out. I sure hope not, anyway!

Jayne White
Jayne White

I only buy print books these days if they’re second-hand or a kindle version is not available. I did have a big flurry of buying when I got my first kindle because the first thing I did was buy lots of classics. The pace has slowed now but I buy more books now I have a kindle than I did before.


Interesting news and discussion. I’ve not long had a kindle and only bought it because a specific book I wanted was only available as an e-book. I don’t enjoy reading on it much and my main impression is that it didn’t draw me back to pick up the read again after an interruption. When you put a paper book down on the sofa or table the cover remains in the corner of your eye, and also how far you’ve read, without picking it up. The kindle reminds you to read, but an actual book reminds you of a setting, or… Read more »

Fran Slater

I’m still yet to buy a single ebook. I hope I’ll never have to. I was worried for a while that we might one day have no choice, but that doesn’t seem likely at the minute.

Lindsay Bamfield

I’m a ‘real’ book lover and always will be – I love having books on my bookshelves and being able to pick up old favourites and dip in and out. Having said that, while I don’t (yet) own an e-reader, I do have Kindle on PC which I have used for a number of e-books, that are only available in e-book form. I admit to also having bought a few e-books because they are cheaper and I’m not sure I’ll love them! Reading on a laptop is not such a good experience as I imagine reading on a proper e-reader,… Read more »

Curtis Chambers

Andrew, I’m an English major and big reader from way back. I was always a paper book type. However, I think what has happened is I have become so use to reading on a computer or reader (since I now read a lot on the internet), that when I read a book, I feel more comfortable reading it on an electronic screen. So in the last two years, I gone almost 100% ebooks. It is sad, though, reading a book and not having a copy to put on the bookshelf. Maybe they should give a free digital copy when you… Read more »

Sandra Danby

I’m a book lover, but have a Kindle for travelling. The Kindle somehow feels cold in the hands compared with paper. I also dislike not being able to share. SD