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Well, this will come as little to no surprise to anyone but….the group of people who buy the most print books are the oldest and the fewest, the youngest according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.

In 2013, consumers spent an average of $29.20 on books not purchased through book clubs. Among different age groups, consumers age 55 to 64 years spent the most ($40.28) on books (not through book clubs) and those under 25 years spent the least ($12.56). In recent years, digital book readers have become more popular and consumers spent an average of $30.18 on digital book readers in 2013. Those ages 35 to 44 years spent $51.73 on digital book readers in 2013, the most of any age group. Newspaper and magazine-subscription spending was highest among consumers age 55 and above.

So yeah, the population is aging out of liking print. We all knew that and here it is in stark black and white (or cyan and taupe as the case may be.)

Even younger folks do seem to be READING, however, based on their purchase of digital readers, and that is good.

However if you poke around on the above link you’ll see employment in book and book-store industries is way down, too! Employment that is in web based publishing is up!

Yes, yes and water is wet and Milo Manara loves the sexy ladies.

Anyway, this sort of qualifies as stuff we knew but didn’t want to know. BUT forewarned is fore-armed. It seems that people still want information and the rise in digital comics (and continued strength of print comics) says that they may be an outlier in the shift to digital.

And you know, after the zombie apocalypse you’ll be super happy if you have a little printed photonovela to stick in your back pocket.




  1. Is employment in the web-publishing business rising at the same rate as attrition on the print side? Or is it a net loss? It’s almost certainly a net loss of income, I imagine.

  2. This is pretty accurate, older people trying to be young and hip by reading more digital and younger folk just not that enthused, plus we torrent most books and comics not because we prefer the format per se, it;s because were poor.

  3. at the high end of the poll, the data indicates that older people have more resistance to digital formats and younger people less so (but not necessarily that they read less).

    But the youngest demo tracked here is super broad, including a lot of kids who rely on their parents to buy their books for them.

    The children’s print side of the business grows every year. We’re going to be fine. :)

  4. …and yet there are other studies showing that young people prefer print over digital books by a factor of 3 to 1. Ah, statistics…

  5. Do note that newspapers and magazines, intended to be disposable, are in serious decline, but the new generations still love print books.

    The disposable stuff always seemed a waste of paper to me (most of them have to print TWICE as much as they actually sell, that’s a HUGE waste!). It just makes sense to make it digital.

  6. Serhend:
    “older people trying to be young and hip by reading more digital and younger folk”

    You can’t be that stupid. Maybe they opted to read digital because they prefer it to print.

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