Good News for Bookstores?

Over the last year or so, Poets & Writers has been profiling different indie bookstores around the country, while running a few feature stories about the return of the bookstore. One of the bookstores they profiled was Parnassus Books, run by best-selling novelist Anne Patchett. After I read the article and the nice write-up in The New York Times a few years ago, I thought, well, it’s great that Patchett’s Tennessee-based bookstore is doing so well, but is the success simply because Patchett is famous?

There is a recent poll, however, that should be good news for bookstores. Rasmussen recently found that 75 percent of American adults would rather read a print book as opposed to an e-book. It has yet to be determined whether or not this will translate into success for bookstores and perhaps the growth of small, indie bookstores in communities, but it does prove that despite the e-reader fad of the last several years, people like reading print. The poll also found that 66 percent would rather read a newspaper in print as opposed to online. What is unclear, however, is whether or not this would be true for younger people. The poll was mostly conducted through LAN lines, and most younger people only have cell phones. It would be interesting to conduct another poll, say on people ages 18-30. Would the results be different?

At the very least, the poll provides some good news for bookstores. People still like print!

2 thoughts on “Good News for Bookstores?

  1. Emily says:

    This is good news! Although it baffles me that those numbers aren’t 100%, they’re pretty strong. Just to respond to what you say about age: as a young person, I’ve seen some (though by no means all or even the majority) of my friends switch over to e-books. As much as I yelled and screamed and argued late into the night with them, they were seduced by touch screens and the coolness of having the latest gadget.
    But lately, I’ve been seeing a back-lash; people are tired of looking at screens 8 hours a day at work and then coming home to relax by reading a book or the paper… on another screen. They’re also finding that they miss browsing, as thoughtlessly ordering books on Amazon doesn’t provide the experience of a bookshop or insight of a bookseller.
    Here’s hoping that Kindles etc are a pathetic fad, one which appealed only to those who wanted the latest gadget – in other words, not the diehard bookworms. The real lovers of books, I have found, love real books and always will!

    • Brian Fanelli says:

      Emily, like you, I also like reading a physical copy of a book, as opposed to an e-reader. I also like your point about people not wanting to stare at a screen any longer than they ahve to, since most people stare at one all day during work. I remember reading an article in Poets & Writers months ago stating that e-reader sales have been down for Barnes n Noble. We’ll have to see what happens!

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