TECH

Print Books Outsold E-Books In 2014

07/10/2014 11:16 BST | Updated 07/10/2014 11:59 BST

The dominant narrative around books is that print is dead, and e-books are king.

Not true.

New data from the UK and US shows that print is proving to be remarkably resilient - and in some cases is still outselling its electronic counterparts despite higher prices and delivery charges.

According to a new US-based study by Nielsen Books & Consumer, fewer e-books were sold in the first half of 2014 than both hardcovers and paperbacks.

Neilsen said e-books accounted for 23% of all sales, compared to 25% for hardcovers and 42% for paperbacks.

And the evidence is there for the UK too that print books are mounting a comeback - or rather a rearguard defence that is slowly looking more and more like an offensive.

The numbers are stark in terms of pure revenue - £300 million on 80 million e-books versus £2.2 billion on 323 million real books. E-books are up 20% year on year, but that growth is slowing.

Waterstones chief Tim Waterstone - who admittedly has a slight stake in the success or not of ebooks - told the Telegraph he thinks they might even go into a decline.

"The e-books have developed a share of the market, of course they have, but every indication – certainly from America – shows the share is already in decline. The indications are that it will do exactly the same in the UK."

The Amazon Kindle was the first e-book reader to hit true mainstream success, and was recently upgraded with a better screen and other doodads. But some have argued the continued success of bright, power-hungry tablets over lower-powered, easier-to-read e-ink devices means reading is still more pleasurable on paper.

Stephen King told HuffPost Live that he thinks print books are going nowhere:

"I think books are going to be there for a long, long time to come… recordings of music have only been around for, I'm going to say, 120 years at the most," he said.

"Books have been around for three, four centuries ... There's a deeply implanted desire and understanding and wanting of books that isn't there with music."