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!