Print Book Sales Saw a 3% Gain in 2016 Over the Previous Year, Marking the Third Straight Year of Increasing Physical Book Sales

As a medium that was seemingly looking at a sharp decline due to the emergence of e-readers and smartphones, sales of printed books have actually been doing quite well over the last three years.

For 2016, the publishing industry overall was up about 3% in units sold over 2015, which is the third straight year of rising sales. Part of this may be due to the fact that there are a growing number of popular adult non-fiction books hitting the market. The target demographic for these books is usually an older audience, one that may not be able to use an e-reader or smartphone to read a book as easily as the younger generation.

Overall, print distribution is up about 10% over 2013 numbers, which is incredible considering that many analysts had predicted a slow and steady decline for book readership the same way newspaper readership has been going down. It seems as though the exact opposite has happened, possibly due to the expanded access that authors now have to the market thanks to the very same platforms that distribute e-books.

Audiobook sales do seem to be in free fall, down about 30% from what there were at in 2013, but that medium has never been overly popular with readers, accounting for less than .5% of the printed book industry.

For published authors, printed book sales used to be the number to go by when determining bestsellers and how widespread the books popularity had become. The fact that e-book sales are only about 17% lower than physical book sales makes it imperative to look into both formats when discussing authors and their works. Smaller authors may have all of their sales via an electronic format due to the easier market access. Overlooking those such authors may mean missing out on some great reads.

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