Are Millennials ruining books?

The direction of our society has low key (but not so low key) gotten really lazy. We could blame this on the technological advancements of our time, ie the smart device. Pew Research found that more than 9 in 10 millennials own smartphones. And rather than using them for the betterment of society, millennials are avoiding doing anything. They’re using apps like Task Rabbit that can connect anyone with money to people who will clean your house, shop for you —  even assemble new furniture.

So, it was a surprise to find that millennials are reading more than any generation before them. The instant gratification that comes from an inexhaustible resource such as a smart device hinders the desire to seek out knowledge in written word; why read a book that contains the answer you’re looking for when you can Google it? Why buy books at all when you don’t even have to leave your couch to download five new e-books on your smart device in under 10 minutes?

Millennials have been accused of killing multiple industries including napkins (seems like a stretch) and Applebee’s, both of which are failing, so the question is, are millennials assassinating the physical book industry?

No, not at all.

According to 2017 data released by NDP BooksScan, the popularity of printed books is continuously  captured around 80 to-85 percent of global print sales and total number of units sold at outlets that report to service rose to 687.2 million. Millennials have an attachment to physical books that a study by the University of Arizona calls a desire for psychological ownership, a perception of “what is mine.” Librarian Paula Badgett stated that the LCCC Ludden Library conducted a survey that found that 65 percent of students still preferred print books over e-books.

So, what is the overall perception of e-books and who uses them? Figures on e-books show that a mere 10 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 had said they purchased up to 10 e-books in the past year and 34 percent had not purchased an e-book at all.

So while millennials aren’t ruining the physical book industry, they might just be “ruining” e-books.


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