Does this chart show that print is over?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has put together a chart showing how expenditure on the written word varies by demographic. It focuses on newspapers, magazines, books and ebooks. That’s a bit odd because it includes the digital versions of books (ebooks) but not the digital versions of magazines and newspapers (websites).


It appears to show some very difficult trends for newspaper/magazine subscriptions and for printed books. There are some potential challenges for that negative reading. It is possible that older people spend more on books, magazines and newspapers because they have more money. They are spending less money on going out, being young and searching for a life partner. It may also be the case that when I was young, my parents spend more on books than I did, and that when my parents were young, the same applied to them and my grandparents.

That said, the dominance of ebooks amongst the under 25s is scary. And if you consider that this analysis is calculated by value, not by volume, and ebooks are typically cheaper than their physical counterparts, the conclusion is even more grim.

If I were a publisher, I would be nervous about assuming that the under 25s would either move towards buying more books, magazines and newspapers in physical form, or that digital formats will make up the revenue shortfall.

I would be preparing my superfan strategy.

(Via Mother Jones)

Nicholas Lovell