What’s the future for the printed book?

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e BookThe shortlist for the MAN Booker prize was announced last week, and will mean thousands of extra sales for the winner. However, the courier price comparison site ParcelHero, specialists in e-commerce fulfilment, say you don’t need to win the Booker to be successful in the book industry.

ParcelHero’s Head of Publications, David Jinks says “It is widely thought that the growth of Amazon is killing the book market; but that is a myth. While the future of the printed word is far from being an open book, there are strong signs that people still like to own physical paper books; and also that the new technologies of ebooks and print-on-demand are encouraging a new generation of authors”. David should know, he published a book himself last year – The Dodo Tree which is about the adventures of a Public Relations manager.”

On book sales, David explains: “eBay and other marketplace traders are finding the market for second hand-paperbacks is something of a struggle; but hardcover books, particularly quality items such as Folio Society books and first editions, are actually growing in value” adding “It’s true that the number of independent book stores has declined by 50%, and a book has less than a 1% chance of being stocked in an average bookstore. But while that’s not great for the High Street, there is no let-up in demand for books bought online. In 2014, 184,000 new and revised titles were released in Britain, and 304,912 in the US”.

Of course carriage costs vs the relatively low cost of books is always an issue when selling online. Companies like ParcelHero can help with heavy bulk orders for distribution, but when it comes to shipping a paperback sold on eBay it’s probably the Royal Mail who will be your best bet.

If you’re a book seller or book buyer we’d love to hear what works for you and what annoys you about trying to buy books, whether online or offline.

2 Responses

  1. I was at this lecture, and what Neil Gaiman says is right. He was asked about the future of the printed book:

    “We were talking about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which was something which resembled an iPad, long before it appeared. And I said when something like that happens, it’s going to be the death of the book. Douglas said no. Books are sharks,” Gaiman told a packed audience at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

    “I must have looked baffled because he he looked very pleased with himself. And he carried on with his metaphor. Books are sharks … because sharks have been around for a very long time. There were sharks before there were dinosaurs, and the reason sharks are still in the ocean is that nothing is better at being a shark than a shark.”

    (the entire lecture was also streamed live and is still available on YouTube)


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