Print Books Enjoyed a Surge in Sales Last Year

Books Sign-CindyFazziPicI’m not about to give up print books. Perhaps I never will. The good news: there are many people like me, judging by the 2.4 percent increase in sales of print books last year.

A total of 635 million units of print books were sold in 2014, compared with 620 million in 2013, according to a report by Publishers Weekly. The figures came from outlets that report to Nielsen BookScan, estimated to capture about 80 percent of print sales in the United States.

Print Book vs. E-book

Don’t get me wrong, I do buy e-books, which I read on my computer. Since I already do all of my work-related reading on computer, I don’t mind reading a novel or novella using a Kindle app once in a while.

I don’t own an e-reader because it doesn’t appeal to me. It’s small but it’s not as convenient as sticking a paperback in my purse. It certainly doesn’t give me the satisfaction of touching and smelling a brand new hardcover.

The surge in print-book sales is modest, but it’s heartening considering the persistent prediction of the print book’s death. We can all calm down and enjoy a book regardless of format.

Other Highlights

Unit Sales of Print Books by Category:

  • Juvenile nonfiction, 15.6 percent growth from 2013
  • Juvenile fiction, 12 percent growth
  • Adult nonfiction, 1.4 percent growth
  • Adult fiction, -7.9 percent

Unit Sales of Print Books by Format

  • Hardcover, 3.1 percent growth from 2013
  • Trade paperback, 4.3 percent
  • Mass market paperback, -10.3
  • Board books, 17.4 percent growth
  • Audio, 0.2 percent growth

To read the entire story on Publishers Weekly’s Web site, click here.

Leave a comment


  1. I buy both. It’s so easy to scroll through Amazon and download books onto my Kindle. But since we’re finding that using laptops at night can disturb sleep patterns, I’m charging up my booklight and restocking my bedside with paperbacks.

  2. Hi Alleigh! Speaking of e-books, your book, “Dare to Love,” is one the e-books on my “to read” list! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. lynettedavis

     /  February 1, 2015

    Reblogged this on Memoir Notes.

  4. I think there is a place for both. My kindle is home to dozens of books and is a testament to to my indecisive side (or maybe my highly selective side). It lets me read a Dickens for a while and then in a few short moments, with very little effort, dip into a Chandler, or on those ponderous summer afternoons, indulge in a little poetry. I don’t tend to have many duplicates (a print copy and en ebook), but I do reserve print copies for those books I love and want to show the world on my bookcase (maybe that is my pretentious side).

  5. (In addition to my sensitivity to ink and paper,) storage of paper books is a major our home. We didn’t get married until our mid-40s, and both my husband and I are avid readers. There is no room for a new physical book without disposing of another to make room on a shelf. (We have run out of room for boxes of books.)

    We are replacing our classics with downloads from Gutenberg Project, and I am buying all of my leisure reading (except books with my name in the foreword or as a character in a story, which I buy in both ebook and paper editions) in epub or HTML. A lot of the SF paperbacks from the 50s and 60s and later are being reissued in epub also, and so I can dispose of my crumbling paperbacks. (I do still try to buy a book I *think* I can never live without in both paper and ebook. There will be time enough for the physical copy to out-gas, so I can read it.

    As things stand now, it could take years to separate the autographed and limited edition paper books from the stuff that can be tossed without serious monetary loss. I cannot imagine packing to move anywhere! 😀

  6. Hi Liz! Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I totally understand how traditional books can take up so much space. I know that ebooks/ digitization is the wave of the future. I’m just hanging in there and trying to enjoy print books as much as possible.


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