Thursday, January 25, 2024

E-books vs. Print books popularity: current scenario

With AI technology driving the digital age, print books are still in demand and account for about half of readers, or even up to 60–85 percent of the total readership in some regions. Industry watchers predicted that print book sales would decline over time as e-reader usage grew quickly in early 2000s. Let's examine a few figures compiled from various sources to determine the prevailing patterns.

When e-readers like the Amazon Kindle burst onto the scene, showing up next to menorahs and under Christmas trees in the early 2000s, they were predicted to bring about the death of the print book — and maybe the independent bookstore too. 
(Brandie Weikle · CBC Radio · Posted: Dec 17, 2023 4:00 AM EST | Last Updated: December 17, 2023)

According to global trends in a Printed Books vs eBooks Statistics, Trends and Facts [2023] - Toner Buzz (1), print book readers are expected to reach up to 1.87 billion readers by 2027, while e-book readers are expected to reach up to 1.2 billion.
The most recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center (February 2021) (2) on book formats, print is still the most popular reading format in America and the most popular e-reader on the market is Amazon’s Kindle covering 72% of the e-reader market.

Chart: E-Books Still No Match for Printed Books | Statista

From the data from Statista’s Advertising & Media Outlook (3), it is obvious that except in China, where the gap between the percentage of e-book readers and print book readers is less, in countries like US, UK, and Japan, there is about a 50–50% market for both print and e-books, and in countries like Australia, Spain, South Korea, Germany, France, and India, there are much more print book readers than e-books.

Global scenario : market Share by Region

RegionE-books (%)Print Books (%)Reference
North America3565Statista, 2022
Europe4555Gitnux, 2023
Asia1585Toner Buzz, 2023
Latin America3070International Publishers Association, 2022

Indian scenario

According to a website, in India the eBooks market is increasing rapidly because of government's digital literacy policy and increasing availability of affordable smartphones. By the end of 2024, The eBooks market in India is projected to reach a revenue of ₹US$236.40m and by 2028 eBooks market is expected to reach 138.7 million readers.

Print and e-book reading experiences

After a hike in e-book reading that reached a certain level, the majority of readers have now experienced the physiological, geographical, cognitive and economic differences of reading both types of books. That could be the reason that some readers are getting back to the prints again in countries like US, UK and Japan. An article by Team Leverage Edu (4) states some differences based on prints and electronics.

E-books vs Printed Books: At a Glance

CriteriaEbooksPrinted Books
PortabilityMore portableLess Portable
StorageTakes less spaceTakes more space
FeaturesHas multiple featuresDoesn’t have features
Cost of booksLess expensiveMore expensive
ConnectivityRequired Not required
FocusHas distractions in the form of linksMore focused
Eye-strainMore strainLess Strain
Initial CostMore expensiveLess Expensive
ChargingNecessary Requirement frequentlyNot a necessary requirement
AvailableEasily available anytimeNot so easily available anytime

Some key figures

Global Market:

Sales Trends:

Reader Preferences:

These statistics suggest that while e-books are growing in popularity, print books continue to hold a significant share of the market. According to Tony Hoffman in his blog  "The preference for one format over the other often depends on factors such as convenience, cost, usability, and the tactile experience of reading a physical book" (5).


  2. Three-in-ten Americans now read e-books | Pew Research Center
  3. Books - Worldwide | Statista Market Forecast
  4. eBooks vs Printed Books: The Unfinished Battle!- Leverage Edu
  5. Ebooks vs Printed books: Statistics, Sales, Facts, and trends for 2023 - Scanse
  7. eBooks vs. Printed Books: Is Book Printing Worth It? - Print Bind Ship
  8. E-readers were supposed to kill printed books. Instead, they're booming | CBC Radio
  9. Chart: E-Books Still No Match for Printed Books | Statista

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