hardback books arranged in a circle
An interesting trend is challenging the view that people prefer to read their content on computers, tablets and smartphones. 
Last year more than 200 million printed books were sold in the UK. That’s the highest figure since 2012 and represents an estimated growth of 5.2% by volume. The overall total of 202 million books was worth £1.76bn, up 5.5% on 2019 – the highest figure in a decade. 
How have we managed to meet our craving for printed content despite many bookshops having to close their doors during the coronavirus restrictions? 

What were we all reading in 2020? 

While the first coronavirus lockdown saw book orders falling, when shops reopened, sales soared, and publishers set ambitious plans in motion. 
According to The Bookseller, the best-selling title of 2020 was Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse. Flushed with early success, TV presenter, Richard Osman’s first book, The Thursday Murder Club, was second, while cookbook Pinch of Nom – Everyday Light was third. 
Over half of us are also reading printed magazines; 23million read a print magazine each month and we particularly enjoy special interest magazines. Latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) show that readership of Hello!, Tatler and Vogue have all increased and The Spectator was up by an impressive 18%. 

Making a masterful mix 

The new reality for books and magazines is the need to find the right balance between print and digital options
During the pandemic people have looked for alternatives to their usual sources of entertainment and content while programmes and events have been cancelled and interest in streaming series and box sets has started to wear thin. 
There has probably been more time to settle down for a good read while people have been furloughed or working from home and spending less time travelling to and from work. 
Spending more time at home also means that books and magazines can be enjoyed in peace and comfort, as much for relaxation as for information or entertainment. 
However there’s also the opportunity to complement your printed content with digital editions, websites and social media channels

Take a technological leap 

Machine learning and artificial intelligence can now put powerful personalisation tools in the hands of publishers. 
It’s only a short step from Amazon-like ‘people who bought this also liked that’, based on buying and browsing histories, to creating completely tailored magazine content that can be delivered directly to your door. Readers could ultimately become a ‘niche’ market of one, with their own news, events and offers beautifully bundled in a bespoke publication. 
Far-fetched? Not really. 
Ecommerce brands are starting to recognise the benefits of delivering added value to their loyal customers, right to their door. Luxury luggage company Away created a unique market position for themselves in a crowded marketplace by creating a wide range of travel-related content, including a printed magazine, Here
Online fashion retailer Net-a-Porter launched its luxury brand magazine, Porter, back in 2014. The premium feel, high-end photography and fashion journalism make it a strong contender in the fashion world. The brand’s founder Nathalie Massanet said, “We’re building a physical temple to our brand”. 
If you would like to discuss how the world of print can support your business’s brand, please get in touch
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