Printed book sales have plummeted, according to new figures – which coincide with a rise in the number of e-readers, such as Kindles that are now being sold.
According to the figures compiled by Nielson Bookscan in the first eight weeks of 2012 Britons bought 7.6million printed novels, which sounds a lot but was actually 2.5 million fewer books than bought in the same period in 2011.
And if sales of children’s books and non-fiction are included then the number of books fell by 4.7million in the same period.
However, according to the Publisher’s Association sales of ebooks have risen by a staggering 623% – bringing fear to the UK’s bookshops.
Meanwhile another author has spoken out in defence of the printed book. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph Joanna Trollope says iPads and Kindles can never replace print because ‘you cannot love a library of ebooks.’
The best selling author is chairing the judging panel for this year’s Orange Prize for Fiction and claims she has read all 143 submissions in print. She says she now looks round her study and will miss her ‘tottering piles’ of books.
“I read everything in an actual book,” she says, “you can’t furnish a room with ebooks.”
She adds that although her own books are available as ebooks and Kindles and iPads are ‘very practical’ she prefers the feel of a book in her hand. And she suggests that publishers respond to the rise of ebooks by making novels feel precious and more beautiful.