According to a report by CNN, US eBook sales fell by a whopping 18% during the first nine months of 2016 alone. The UK followed this trend with a similar drop during the very same period. This drop in sales of eBooks comes along with a resurgence in sales of printed books:
“In the UK, sales of physical books and journals went up by 7% over the same period, while children’s books surged 16%. The same trend is on display in the U.S., where paperback sales were up 7.5% over the same period, and hardback sales increased 4.1%.”
There are a few theories that try to explain the sustained drop in eBook sales over the last couple of years:
The first is cost. Despite the marginal cost of production and distribution, eBooks are almost as expensive as printed books. The argument is that eBooks should be at least half the cost of the paperback.
The second possible reason is the recent trend towards digital detoxes. During a digital detox, users abstain from the usage of digital devices as much as possible. Instead, they use the smartphone at the expense of other devices. The drop in use of other devices results in increased demand for printed books and magazines to fill the time.
Lastly, there is a trend where popular books are only available in print editions for the first few months. Fans of the author won’t wait around for the eBook and will buy the printed book as soon as it is available.