Drop That Kindle! 10 Reasons Print Books Are Better Than E-Books

3 October 2015

From The National Book Review via The Huffington Post:

Last week, the book industry released figures showing that e-book sales were down so far this year — the first time they have declined — while print remained relatively steady. When the news broke, we published a piece on 10 reasons e-books are better than print.

In the interest of fairness, we now offer a list for the other side: a 10-point case for print.

1. Print books have pages that are nice and soft to the touch. Paper makes reading physically pleasurable. Reading an e-book, on the other hand, feels like using an ATM. And after staring at a computer screen at work all day, how relaxing is it to curl up at home and stare at another screen?

. . . .

8. Print books are fairer to writers. The Author’s Guild has been beating the drum for years that publishers give writers a lower percentage of the royalties for e-books. That makes it harder for authors to earn a living – and to produce new books. If you want to support writers, who are struggling these days, more than publishing giants – buy a print book.

. . . .

10. Print books are theft-resistant. If you leave a book in your car, you can be pretty sure it will be there when you return. That is probably not true of your iPad, Kindle or other e-book reader. And a bonus: if you drop a print book in the bathtub, you can dry it out with a hairdryer.

Link to the rest at The Huffington Post and thanks to Sadye for the tip.

Why are e-books still stuck in neutral?

2 October 2015

From Chris Meadows at TeleRead:

On Aeon.co, Craig Mod posts a long and thoughtful essay about how he fell into and out of love with the Kindle that’s worth giving a little attention. Mod explains that he was originally attracted by the Kindle’s compelling promise of a digital future for literature, but gradually embittered by Amazon squandering that promise in favor of an overwhelmingly mediocre platform.

It seems as though Amazon has been disincentivised to stake out bold explorations by effectively winning a monopoly (deservedly, in many ways) on the market. And worse still, the digital book ‘stack’ – the collection of technology upon which our digital book ecosystems are built – is mostly closed, keeping external innovators away.

The post ends up a mixture of eloquent paean to physical books as beautiful artifacts, and disappointed diatribe against all the areas where the Kindle settles for “good enough” (or in some cases not so good at all) where it could be significantly better. While it is easy to pigeonhole Mod’s lionization of well-designed paper books as just another invocation of the tired old “smell of books” cliche (especially given that he seems to focus primarily on books thatare works of art, while ignoring all the soulless slabs of mass-market paper that make up the vast majority), he does have a valid point about the way e-book progress has languished since Amazon has effectively taken over the marketplace.

E-books are basically a digital echo of paper books, but what about all the areas where they could be more than just a glass-and-e-ink doppelganger of paper and ink? For example, Mod notes that paper books we haven’t read remind us of their presence whenever we glance at our laden bookshelves, whereas the Kindle offers no reminders of the hundreds or thousands of titles we’ve bought that aren’t the half-dozen listed on the first screen. If the Kindle can greet us with advertisements for Amazon products every time we pick it up, Mod wonders, why can’t it remind us every so often of books we’ve forgotten we already bought? (Because they’ve already got our money for those, the cynic in me scoffs.)

. . . .

All in all, it’s hard to disagree in principle, especially as Mod does not come off as the usual smell-of-books luddite. He does not scorn what e-books are so much as he is disappointed by what they could be but show no signs of becoming. Perhaps this is one area where Amazon’s domination of the marketplace actually does ill-serve it—it reduces the opportunity and the incentive to try to innovate further.

Link to the rest at TeleRead

For PG, all the magic of a book, regardless of its form, is in the words the author created.

From Books to Ebooks and Back: The Future of Literary Consumption Is Unwritten

28 September 2015

From Flavorwire:

News from the Association of American Publishers that digital sales have dropped by ten percent in the first five months of 2015 has prompted big publishing to build and expand warehouse space for print books. But it isn’t just the precipitous decline in sales that is driving publishing back to the arms of print. Increasingly, readers — including young readers — prefer a mix of digital and print books, with a tendency to favor the latter.

It remains to be seen whether the renegotiation of contracts with Amazon, who has cornered around 65 percent of the ebook market, was what led to the decline. Publishers fought and won the ability to raise ebook prices, sometimes charging as much for digital copies as hardcover print versions.

On the other hand, we won’t likely know until next year whether publishing has achieved a healthier balance between print and digital, one that leads perhaps to improved overall sales.

Either way, the resurgence of print was never a given — few announced its impending arrival. Quite the contrary, a surfeit of doomsayers saw in the arrival of ebooks and ebook readers — the sales of which dropped by eight million last year — the end of print or at least the demise of given literary forms, like the novel.

“This is the question,” novelist Will Self wrote in the Guardian last year, “if you accept that by then the vast majority of text will be read in digital form on devices linked to the web, do you also believe that those readers will voluntarily choose to disable that connectivity? If your answer to this is no, then the death of the novel is sealed out of your own mouth.”

. . . .

“There is nothing capable of destroying literary needs,” Neuman said last weekend at the Brooklyn Book Festival. “When I need to have a slow, joyful experience, I prefer a printed book. When I’m just reading the text partially to search for things, I use ebooks.”

He added: “I don’t see why we should choose. We will have both forever. This old device called the printed book has lasted a few crises already.”

. . . .

“When you read a printed book, it’s easier to stay on the same page for a long period of time. When you read a digital book, you want to move from page to page. And with poetry you need to see the form — you need to see more than you can see on digital pages.”

. . . .

“We believe more than ever that the phone will be the primary reading device globally over the next decade,” Oyster wrote in a statement on its website. “Looking forward, we feel this is best seized by taking on new opportunities to fully realize our vision for ebooks.”

. . . .

“Devices are not dangerous for literature,” Krasznahorkai said. “People can be dangerous for literature. People, for example, who do not read.”

Link to the rest at Flavorwire

eBook Sales “Slip” Following a Pattern Set by Digital Magazines, Newspapers

28 September 2015

From The Digital Reader:

Are we reading too much into the recent reports that eBook sales are declining? Were factors at play that spurred past growth, like low pricing, that are not a factor today?

The media is catching up to something readers here have known for a while: digital media sales are slumping, caused by a number of things, but slumping, nonetheless. In July, the Association of American Publishers stats for Q1 of this year showed trade eBook sales down 7.5 percent, with print sales up a tick, though essentially flat (hardbound down, paperback up). Their latest stats show eBook sales through June down 10 percent.

Those who have an interest in promoting print over digital seemed to rejoice.  But as anyone who bet against the web should know, believing digital publishing is somehow a fad will be a bad bet.

. . . .

First, it has always been the case that readers have preferred print, at least in comparison to the kinds of digital products they have been presented to date. The earliest studies, conducted by companies heavily invested in digital, showed that the number one preferred platform for books and other published materials was print. There is good reason for this: print is portable, convenient, and easy to read.

Studies also revealed that while readers hated those Flash flipbooks, they were open to reading on tablets and smartphones, and this is where we have seen growth the past few years.

Second, a lot of digital publishing efforts today are embarrassingly bad. Whether we are talking about ePub books or replica edition newspapers and magazines, many publishers look at digital as just another distribution channel for print, not as an original publishing platform. One simply can’t compare a high quality printed book or magazine to a poorly converted digital product.

Third, just as print books and magazines took a major hit when Borders and other distribution channels shutdown, so too has digital been hit by Apple’s failure to maintain the Newsstand or promote the iBooks Store. Google, meanwhile, has not stepped up to replace Apple as the leading sales outlet (ahead of Amazon for newspapers and magazines, but far behind in eBooks). (Though with the acqui-hire of some of the Oyster team, this may be changing.)

. . . .

Additionally, print remains a marginally profitable business. Many newspapers and magazines continue to struggle to turn a profit, while US book publishers have to live in fear that yet another of the big retailers may go out of business (or at least severely shrink).

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

Publishers Initiate Predatory Pricing on e-Books to Destroy the Market

27 September 2015

From Good Ereader:

Major publishers have gained the ability to dictate their own prices on e-books and this has dramatically increased the cost to the customer. In many cases the hardcover is actually cheaper than the digital version and this is primarily due to predatory pricing.

Publishers have been making moves to capitalize on the convenience and instant delivery of e-Books by making them more expensive than their printed counterparts. I have talked to many high ranking executives off the record and they have told me that they foresee the destruction of the e-book market and are anticipating higher profits on print down the road.

There are many companies that are heavily involved in the e-book sector that have went out of business over the course of the last year. Sony killed off their consumer e-reader division and abandoned the Reader Store in every country, but Japan. Diesel eBooks, Oyster, Entitle, Txtr, Blinkbox Books and others have all closed up shop because e-books are no longer profitable.

The reason why these companies went out of business is because of predatory pricing from the major publishers. If you have never heard of this term, its basically a pricing strategy that is intended to drive competitors out of the market, or create barriers to entry for potential new competitors. The fewer e-book stores that exist, the less sales the format generates, which is resulting in a resurgence of trade paperback and hardcover sales at the expense of e-books.

. . . .

Likely the most compelling case of predatory pricing for publishers is in your local libraries e-book collection.  Very early on, publishers realized that e-books do not have as much legal protections as physical books do, because they are considered a service and not a product. This has resulted in the  e-book cost increasing by over by 800% and limits on the number of checkouts being imposed, before the library has to buy a new copy. Real books last MUCH longer than this, at a fraction of the price to the library. The sad truth is, e-book sales are falling all over the world, but libraries don’t have the luxury to abandon buying them and are at the mercy of the publishers.

Link to the rest at Good Ereader and thanks to Bridget for the tip.

Ebook Sales Are Down And It’s My Fault

27 September 2015

From Lev Raphael:

Well, not really.  But I am one of those people who’s not reading as many ebooks as before.  The thrill is gone.

In the beginning I was excited to download books instantly whenever, wherever.  Forget two-day delivery with Amazon Prime.  If I wanted a book on my iPad at 3 AM, voilà–and the font and page color could even be adjusted.  How cool was that?

But then the books started massing and I lost track of how many there were, unlike being able to see and sort the TBR pile in my study. I know, not a problem the Pope had to address at the UN, but still–

. . . .

Dealing with insomnia after a car accident, one solution recommended by experts was to avoid e-readers (and laptop or PC screens) at night because of the light, so that forced me to cut down.

But I had found myself drifting away from ebooks anyway by that point.  I’m an extrovert and can be easily distracted.  I turn to reading as a form of meditation. I want to be completely lost, mesmerized by storytelling whatever the genre.  Holding a device where I can check my email or the news can break the spell.

Link to the rest at Lev Raphael and thanks to Bill for the tip.

Media Often Mistakes Legacy Publishing Stats for Market Stats, Foresees the Decline of Ebooks

25 September 2015

From Nate Hoffhelder at The Digital Reader:

It’s that time of year again.

Starting with Nicholas Carr in 2013, it has become a biannual tradition for someone in the media to proclaim that print isn’t dead, and that ebooks are declining.

The last publication to cheer on the revival of print was The Guardian, which proclaimed in April that paper books were opening a new chapter, and now the NYTimes has picked up the standard.

On Tuesday, the NYTimes announced that print was far from dead and that due to declining ebook sales, the expected digital apocalypse had been indefinitely delayed.

. . . .

The NYTimes is citing the AAP’s monthly sales stats. This data is collected from some 1,200 and collated each month. The stats are good and accurate, but they also come with a huge caveat:

The 1,200 publishers represent less than half of the industry’s ebook revenues.

According to the AAP’s year-end report, the 1,200 odd publishers generated $1.58 billion in ebook revenues in 2014.

That is a lot of money, but not in comparison to the AAP’s figures for 2014 ebook revenues for the trade publishing industry, which totaled an estimated $3.37 billion dollars.

The share represented by the 1,200 publishers comes to 46%, in case you were wondering.

While I’m sure some readers are thinking that you can reasonably extrapolate from a limited data set to the entire market, that will not work in this case because the 1,200 publishers are not a representative sample of the market.

There’s a fundamental difference between the AAP’s data and the non-AAP industry. While the majority of the AAP monthly data about ebook revenues comes from the Big Five US trade publishers, the majority of the non-AAP ebook revenues goes to self-published ebooks and indie published ebooks.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader and thanks to Mikey for the tip.

iPhone case adds e-ink to its backside

25 September 2015

From Cult of Mac:

We want our iPhone case to look pretty and protect our investment. Beyond that, we ask nothing of it.

One technology company wants its case to do a little more, though. OAXIS is launching a case that also serves as a second screen, an e-ink display that gives you time, allows you to receive important messages and lets you read your favorite e-book.

. . . .

The InkCase i6 gives the eyes a needed break from the glare of the iPhone screen while giving the iPhone battery a rest; the case runs on its own lithium-polymer battery.

Bluetooth connectivity keeps you attuned to incoming notifications and lets you create a wallpaper with personal photos.

Link to the rest at Cult of Mac and thanks to Joshua for the tip.

Individual author earnings tracked across 7 quarters, Feb. 2014 – Sept. 2015

23 September 2015

From Author Earnings:

Seven quarters.

Seven Author Earnings reports.

Seven times we unleashed our software spider and took a detailed X-Ray of the majority of the US ebook market. Each time, we captured between 35% and 50% of all ebook sales in the US that day.

Over 200,000 authors, and close to a million different books.

Title-level data spanning half a billion ebook purchases, nearly $3 billion in consumer ebook spending, and a billion dollars in author earnings.

Quarter after quarter, we’ve tracked the fastest-growing and most volatile sector of the US publishing industry, and watched how it has shifted. And seen how the different sectors of the industry — from the Big Five traditional publishers and their smaller traditional-publishing peers to Amazon publishing imprints and self-published indie authors — have competitively fared.

But each of our quarterly snapshots, no matter how comprehensive, is only an X-Ray of the US ebook market at that exact moment. It’s what’s called a cross-sectional study. Like a freeze frame photo, it can only tell us how the ebook market is faring as a whole, rather than predicting the future prospects of any particular author along any particular publishing path. Because although every AE snapshot captures the sales of tens of thousands of authors — even hundreds of thousands of authors — each data set can only tell us how each individual author’s books happen to be selling at that precise instant in time.

The picture painted by each quarterly report, taken on its own, is thus necessarily incomplete.

They tell us nothing about the consistency of those individual authors’ earnings over time.

And if I’m an author deciding which publishing route to pursue, isn’t that what I’m really most interested in? Rather than broad comparisons of each publishing path’s total collective “market share”?

Publishing professionally, after all, is about building a readership and a long-term, decent-paying writing career. As an individual author, that’s really all I care about, regardless of which publication method I choose.

And that’s why single-quarter snapshots of the market, no matter how comprehensive, don’t tell me what I need to know.

Let say you’re a writer holding a completed manuscript, on the fence about which publishing path to pursue. The traditional path is undoubtedly the slower one — countless authors end up querying and submitting their work for decades, without ever landing a publishing contract. But for the relative few traditional aspirants who do, does that patience get rewarded with higher long-term stability than indie publishers see? And greater long-term income?

Does slow and steady actually win the race?

What if, for example, it turns out that traditionally published authors — as a result of their publishers’ superior marketing muscle — end up being steadier, more consistent earners quarter after quarter, just like the proverbial tortoise? And what if their bestselling indie peers are by contrast more like the proverbial hare, each of them briefly surging up the charts to be captured by our spider during their single fleeting moment of glory, only to be churned under once again and languish in non-selling obscurity thereafter, overwhelmed by the sheer teeming numbers of other indie hopefuls? What if each indie you see on the best seller charts is only king or queen for a day, or even a month or two, before their brief place in the sun is taken from them by the next lucky — and equally short-lived — indie contender?

Imagine that I’m an author deciding which way to publish my first book… or even my tenth book.

I’d kind of want to know that, right? And so, most likely, would you.

The thing we’d both really like to see is called a longitudinal study of author earnings, rather than a cross-sectional one. A study that tracks the earnings of those same individual authors over a longer period of time. And we’d especially like to see such a study done with a statistically well-defined and economically representative sample of authors — such as all authors whose books appeared on any Amazon best seller list over a seven-quarter period — rather than done based upon the self-selected responses of a handful of narrow-demographic, association-dues-paying survey participants.

Eighteen months ago, back in early 2014, at Author Earnings we took our first stab at tracking same-author earnings over time. With only two quarterly cross-sectional snapshots available to compare, the results were suggestive, but hardly conclusive.

We simply didn’t have enough data to work with, back then.

We do now.

A Longitudinal Study of Individual Author Earnings Over a 7-Quarter Period, from Feb. 2014 – Sept. 2015

By matching up author names across all seven of our quarterly snapshots, we were able to create a single, merged data set. It included over 200,000 authors and their cumulative seven-quarter sales and author earnings from the subset of their Kindle books which appeared on any Amazon best seller list or sub-list during any of our snapshots. It also included their Kindle best-seller sales and earnings broken down by each individual quarter.

Next, because we were only interested in comparing longer-term performance, we excluded “one-hit wonders” — i.e. authors whose author earnings from Amazon-bestseller-listed Kindle ebooks were not above a $10,000/year run rate in at least 2 different quarterly snapshots out of our 7. Perhaps some of these single-snapshot earners were indies that just happened to have their books captured on “Bookbub day”, or maybe some of them were traditionally-published authors whom Amazon happened to be deeply discounting for a few days, giving them a brief pop in sales. Either way, it means that we caught those authors on a particularly good day in one of our snapshots, which was not representative of their longer-term earnings.

That left us:

5,643 authors in our longitudinal data set — or roughly 2.8% of the original 200,000 — whose Kindle best-selling ebooks appearing on Amazon best seller lists were consistently earning them $10K/year or better.

Lest anyone get discouraged by that 5,643 number, keep in mind that it is only the visible tip of the iceberg: there are many, many other strong-selling authors and books that never appear on any of the Amazon Kindle best-seller lists. Those other writers don’t appear on Amazon’s best seller lists — and thus don’t appear in our data sets — because they happen to write in highly competitive genres where even dozens of sales per day are insufficient to allow a book to reach position #100 on any sub-genre best seller list. Thus those other books and authors are invisible to our spider. (Anecdotally, we’ve spoken to many of these “non-best-selling” mostly-indie authors who are earning five-figure incomes — sometimes six-figure incomes — from ebooks that never appeared on any Amazon best seller lists.)

And even for those 5,643 authors whose visible earnings from Kindle best sellers in our data sets exceeded $10K/year, many of them also had other Kindle books, too, which were NOT visible on the best seller lists. And thus their true overall Kindle ebook author earnings were higher than we show… to say nothing of their additional earnings from ebook sales at other retailers, audiobook sales (10% of the audiobooks on Amazon’s best seller lists are indie), and print sales (offset or POD).

But even so, it’s a meaningfully large and statistically representative sample, so without further ado, let’s jump in and take a look at the (best-selling) Kindle mid list.

The Kindle Mid-List


We’ll start with the steady $10K-or-better earners. Again, keep in mind that this is by no means all authors who are earning more than $10K+/year, nor even all authors earning that much just from their US ebooks, nor yet even all authors earning that much from only their Kindle ebooks. These are authors earning $10K+/year consistently from only that subset of their Kindle books that appear on the Amazon best seller lists.

For now, we’ll focus only on the leftmost set of bars, which include all authors regardless of how long they’ve been publishing.

The first thing that stands out from the chart is that there are many thousands of such consistent five-figure-earning “Kindle Midlisters” visible in the data — both traditionally published (purple) and indie published (blue). And as we’ll see in the charts that follow, almost half of these 5,600 authors — over 2,200 of them — are consistently making $25K/year or more on their Kindle bestsellers, and more than a fifth of them — over 1,200 authors in the data set — are making $50K/year or more on their Kindle best sellers alone.

Once earnings from their other non-bestselling Kindle books, other ebook retailers, and other formats such as audio and print are factored in, it’s safe to say that most of these 5,600 writers in our longitudinal data set are making a living wage from their writing.

The two bar charts below tally up the numbers of authors making $25K/year or more, and those making $50K/year or more, from best-seller-listed Kindle ebooks alone. At each of these higher income levels, we further tightened up our requirements for observable earnings consistency. To be included in the charts below, each of these authors not only had to have total 7-quarter earnings at that yearly level or above, their earnings each quarter also had to exceed that of the previous level in at least 4 of our 7 quarterly snapshots.

Let’s take a look:



The leftmost set of bars in every chart includes <i>all</i> authors earning at or above a given level, regardless of their earliest publication date. The left-most purple bar is thus where we’ll find traditional publishing’s longest-tenured and highest-selling authors: names like James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Lee Child, David Baldacci, Janet Evanovich, John Grisham, and Stephen King.

The left-most blue bar is also worth a mention. Prior to 2009 indie authors were a niche phenomenon, with very limited access to mainstream readers. Six short years later, there are more than half as many indie authors earning steady midlist-or-better incomes from their Kindle ebook bestsellers as there are among ALL traditionally-published authors — even with all of those perennial traditional-publishing name-brand heavyweights, who spent decades atop the old-media best seller lists, also tipping the ebook scales.

So let’s take a look at the other sets of bars, moving across the charts from left to right, because that’s where things start to get really interesting.

When you look only at authors who started publishing less than a decade ago — in 2005 or later — the gap between the numbers of indie and traditionally published authors earning midlist-or-better incomes nearly disappears. Fast work, considering that none of those indies had widespread access to readers until 2010, giving their traditionally-published cohort-mates a five-year head start.

In fact, if we look at only authors who debuted in the “ebook era” — i.e. in 2010 or after — we see a reversal. At each annual earnings level, we find far more indies than traditionally-published authors who debuted in the last 5 years and are now earning that much or more.

If we look at the most recent debuts — authors whose first Kindle book was published in the last three years or so — the disparity grows:

There are fewer than half as many traditionally published authors as indie authors who debuted in the last 3 years and are now earning consistently at the $25K/year level or $50K/year level from Kindle ebooks.

This, then, is the world that all new entrants — whether traditionally published or indie — face in 2015. If you’re a debut author in 2015 with a manuscript in hand, or even an experienced author regaining the rights to your backlist or starting out with a fresh pen name, when choosing your publishing route it’s that right-most set of bars in every one of these charts that is today most relevant to you.

But what if you are destined to be more than a mid-lister? You don’t want to sell your work short. Isn’t it still worth being patient and pursuing the traditional route, to have a better shot at truly stellar earnings?

Surprisingly, as we move into six-figure-earning territory and beyond, the contrast between indie ebook earnings and traditionally-published ebook earnings becomes even more stark.

Link to the rest at Author Earnings

PG says you’ll be interested in the comparisons between trad pub and indie authors earning $250,000, $500,000 and over $1,000,000 per year from Kindle bestsellers. It’s not a pretty story for trad pub.

PG will also note that AE used a very conservative methodology to calculate earnings for indie authors. The true numbers and incomes will be higher in each of the earnings categories.

The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead

23 September 2015

From The New York Times:

Five years ago, the book world was seized by collective panic over the uncertain future of print.

As readers migrated to new digital devices, e-book sales soared, up 1,260 percent between 2008 and 2010, alarming booksellers that watched consumers use their stores to find titles they would later buy online. Print sales dwindled, bookstores struggled to stay open, and publishers and authors feared that cheaper e-books would cannibalize their business.

Then in 2011, the industry’s fears were realized when Borders declared bankruptcy.

“E-books were this rocket ship going straight up,” said Len Vlahos, a former executive director of the Book Industry Study Group, a nonprofit research group that tracks the publishing industry. “Just about everybody you talked to thought we were going the way of digital music.”

But the digital apocalypse never arrived, or at least not on schedule. While analysts once predicted that e-books would overtake print by 2015, digital sales have instead slowed sharply.

. . . .

Now, there are signs that some e-book adopters are returning to print, or becoming hybrid readers, who juggle devices and paper. E-book sales fell by 10 percent in the first five months of this year, according to the Association of American Publishers, which collects data from nearly 1,200 publishers. Digital books accounted last year for around 20 percent of the market, roughly the same as they did a few years ago.

E-books’ declining popularity may signal that publishing, while not immune to technological upheaval, will weather the tidal wave of digital technology better than other forms of media, like music and television.

. . . .

The surprising resilience of print has provided a lift to many booksellers. Independent bookstores, which were battered by the recession and competition from Amazon, are showing strong signs of resurgence. The American Booksellers Association counted 1,712 member stores in 2,227 locations in 2015, up from 1,410 in 1,660 locations five years ago.

“The fact that the digital side of the business has leveled off has worked to our advantage,” said Oren Teicher, chief executive of the American Booksellers Association. “It’s resulted in a far healthier independent bookstore market today than we have had in a long time.”

Publishers, seeking to capitalize on the shift, are pouring money into their print infrastructures and distribution. Hachette added 218,000 square feet to its Indiana warehouse late last year, and Simon & Schuster is expanding its New Jersey distribution facility by 200,000 square feet.

Penguin Random House has invested nearly $100 million in expanding and updating its warehouses and speeding up distribution of its books. It added 365,000 square feet last year to its warehouse in Crawfordsville, Ind., more than doubling the size of the warehouse.

“People talked about the demise of physical books as if it was only a matter of time, but even 50 to 100 years from now, print will be a big chunk of our business,” said Markus Dohle, the chief executive of Penguin Random House, which has nearly 250 imprints globally. Print books account for more than 70 percent of the company’s sales in the United States.

The company began offering independent booksellers in 2011 two-day guaranteed delivery from November to January, the peak book buying months.

. . . .

“It’s a very simple thing; only books that are on the shelves can be sold,” Mr. Dohle said.

At BookPeople, a bookstore founded in 1970 in Austin, Tex., sales are up nearly 11 percent this year over last, making 2015 the store’s most profitable year ever, said Steve Bercu, the co-owner. He credits the growth of his business, in part, to the stabilization of print and new practices in the publishing industry, such as Penguin Random House’s so-called rapid replenishment program to restock books quickly.

“The e-book terror has kind of subsided,” he said.

Other independent booksellers agree that they are witnessing a reverse migration to print.

“We’ve seen people coming back,” said Arsen Kashkashian, a book buyer at Boulder Book Store in Boulder, Colo. “They were reading more on their Kindle and now they’re not, or they’re reading both ways.”

. . . .

Higher e-book prices may also be driving readers back to paper.

As publishers renegotiated new terms with Amazon in the past year and demanded the ability to set their own e-book prices, many have started charging more. With little difference in price between a $13 e-book and a paperback, some consumers may be opting for the print version.

. . . .

 It is also possible that a growing number of people are still buying and reading e-books, just not from traditional publishers. The declining e-book sales reported by publishers do not account for the millions of readers who have migrated to cheap and plentiful self-published e-books, which often cost less than a dollar.

Link to the rest at The New York Times and thanks to Tom for the tip.

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