“The paperless society is about as plausible as the paperless bathroom.” ~Jesse Shera
The predictions of a paperless society have been around for decades. Back in 2012, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) predicted that the U.S. ebook market would surpass the printed book market in 2017. That fell far short of reality.
From 2012 to 2104, the sales of ebooks grew, but then instead of continuing to grow, ebook sales began to flatten and even decline in 2015. In 2017, unit sales of print books rose while unit sales of ebooks by traditional publishers fell 10% over 2016. For traditionally published books, ebook sales only made up 19% of all book sales in 2017. Author Earnings believes that ebook sales still account for about 25% of all book sales when indie published books are also taken into account.
It appears that print is not going way.
FedEx Office recently conducted a survey of consumers and small business owners about their preferences and purchasing habits regarding professional printing services. The survey, conducted by polling firm PSB, shows that consumers and small business owners prefer to use printed materials over digital. The study found:
- Ninety percent of consumers and small business owners agreed that they “like to have the option to have printed materials” and preferred reading materials, most notably official documents and contracts, on paper versus on a screen.
- The majority (90%) of consumers also agreed there will always be a need for printed materials and almost half (49%) said a world without paper would make them feel stressed or annoyed.
In fact, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) recently sent a notice out to Christian retailers that our 2018 Book Catalog was available to view online. In response, we received a number of emails from retailers requesting that we send them a print version of the catalog because they still preferred looking through print catalogs when making purchasing decisions.
Print is still popular. The shift to all digital has not yet surpassed print. As an Indie author or publisher, this means that print should still be part of your business strategy—both print books and print marketing materials.
Offering books in a variety of formats is a wise strategy, as is participating in both digital and print marketing. Is print still a part of your marketing strategy? Do you utilize:
- Business cards
- Print brochures
- Print catalogs
- Print advertising?
If your print marketing efforts have fall by the wayside in favor of easier digital strategies, I encourage you to rethink your marketing efforts. A combination of both print and digital will reap the most benefits as we still operate in a world where people use both mediums.
Societal Trends and the Print Book
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