I created a poll over on LinkedIn a few weeks ago asking how people liked to consume books. The results? Print books are the number one way consumers like to read them.

The Results

Out of the 72 people we got 43% traditional, 18% Kindle (I was surprised it was so little) closely followed by audio at 15%, and then 24% of a mix of all three. (How that 24% was broken down was unclear, but it seems audio and traditional is a common combination, as is kindle and audio.)

I’m not that surprised that traditional books are the top choice. NPD Bookscan reported that print books were up by 6.4% in the first nine months of 2020. I’m sure COVID is a big driver in people looking for other ways to entertain, but the fact that it’s print books is reassuring.

I love proper books, complete with their smell, ruffled corners, annotated highlights and the emotion attached to the turn of each page. Long live paper and ink!

LinkedIn User

The Guardian also reported that print books saw a surge in sales (even though book shops were closed for a large proportion of 2020) and hasn’t seen an increase in sales since 2007. Neilsen also reported big jumps in print book sales. Print books are the number one way consumers like to read them.

Nielsen has estimated that the volume of print books sold grew by 5.2% compared with 2019. This equates to 202m books being sold in the UK last year and was worth £1.76bn, up 5.5% on 2019, said Nielsen.

Nielsen – ISBN agency for the UK

The Rise of Audio

However, we have also seen a huge surge in audiobooks, much more so than other digital formats. The BBC reported that the rise in audio popularity might have something to do with the celebrity it attracts; big names like Elisabeth Moss reading The Handmaid’s Tale, Meryl Streep narrating Charlotte’s Web or Michelle Obama reading her own memoir, Becoming.

From a personal perspective, I like hearing someone else’s voice whilst pottering around the house (I live alone); it’s comforting and this format allows the harder-to-read books easier to digest. Most likely to do with someone else doing the heavy lifting!

I quite enjoy reading the pages whilst listening to the narration, but if I don’t like the sound of the narrator, I won’t buy the audio version, unless it’s the author.

Linkedin user

Whatever the results, I’m just glad that people are still consuming books, in whatever form they take. (My business relies on it 😉 ) So, it’s not going to be a surprise that Compass-Publishing UK (in conjuction with Nartan Rose Audio books) will be adding audio book production in May.

So, are you surprised by any of the results?

How do YOU prefer to consume books? Do let us know in the comment.

Have an idea for a book, but not sure where to start? Why not take a look at this blog post and see if can help you on your book-writing journey. I also offer coaching services which can be found in the services tab on my home page.

Traditional print books are still the best!