Hey, remember books? You know, the physical objects with words printed in them? Well, apparently they’re making a comeback: bookstore sales are up for the first time since 2007.
That’s according the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported that bookstore sales were up from $10.89 billion in 2014 to $11.17 billion in 2015. That’s a 2.5% increase – the first such increase that the sector has seen since 2007.
Of course, literature itself was never in much trouble. Nobody was worried about people reading, but bookstores had plenty of reason to worry about how people were doing that reading. Back in 2007, when bookstore sales last rose, the future looked rocky for print book retailers: eBooks were threatening booksellers, and major chains were trying hard to adapt. The first Amazon Kindle came out in 2007, and Barnes and Noble didn’t respond with its Nook until 2010. Borders’ eBook store also debuted in 2010, but it wasn’t enough to save the chain.
Since then, though, the eBook revolution seems to have stalled. Increasingly, observers are suggesting that eBooks and print books can coexist – which is great news for large bookstore chains and small independent bookstores alike.
This isn’t the first sign of the print book resurgence. Web retailer and eBook pioneer Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar store last year, and is rumored to be planning more. On top of that, a recent study showed that college students prefer print books to eBooks.
There’s still a long way to go in the book selling world, though: in 2007, book sales totaled over $17 billion. This year’s $11.17 billion is an improvement over recent years, but not a full return to form.