We live in an era when it would be easy to think that data is essential in every sector. However printed books still have a bright future ahead of them, and words have not been printed for the last time. Leader of the different sectors of the publishing industry, with figures to confirm it, this support has never proved unworthy of its position.

Paper remains on top

If publishing were to go completely digital, book fairs would be without a doubt rather morose affairs, and their dedication sessions even worse. The organisers of the last Paris Book Fair can congratulate themselves however, as this was not yet the case. Printed books still account for more than the majority sold, and have even taken a step upward, covering themselves with glory with a sales increase of 2 % in 2015. On the other side of the Atlantic, where the digital market has made the biggest inroads, books have only recorded a quarter of the sales, whether it be fiction or non-fiction, and the last two years this figure is in decline. If this figure appears significant at first glance, this level is still a long way off in France. It seems that French readers have difficulty in crossing the threshold, and the sales of e-books have started to stagnate more and more every day.

A print run adapted to your tastes

If books in their printed form remain well entrenched today, it is probably because they have been able to adapt to our era. We’ve come a long way from monks copying books for months with calligraphy texts. Today, it is possible to choose your title from a publisher, whether it’s out of print or not, and have it printed in only a few minutes. That is, in any case, what “Expresso Book Machine” proposes in its Parisian shop, Presses Universitaires de France. Several million books, some of which are in the public domain, are already available, and can be printed and bound in a few minutes and then put on sale. It is quite conceivable that other publishers will follow suit and that soon we will be able to visit our favourite bookshop and order a work, and receive it immediately. This proposal of course joins the ranks of print on demand already proposed for several catalogues, especially those of Bragelonne, that publish fiction from the Snark collection in this manner, or catalogues who republish back issues and older titles. The quality remains intact, of course, just like the enjoyment.

Physical books are better than virtual ones

Through the incentives of publishers, paper books now propose unexpected prospects. It should not be forgotten that one of the printed books biggest advantages is that it can be used without an adapter. The ebook has had difficulty establishing itself in France, no doubt due to the fact that it appeared at the same time as tablets and smartphones, and not all consumers necessarily wanted, or indeed, needed to acquire multiple electronic devices. On the other hand, however, most people have eyes, and paper remains the best communication support for this tool that, moreover, can be utilised whenever desired, without complicated manipulations.

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