If you’ve tuned in to our weekly Focus on Suppliers broadcast this season, you may be familiar with the Books Live segment. Brenda Allison, Director of Sales for ReaderLink, fills us in on what’s new hitting the bookshelves and what she recommends for your up-coming reading.
One thing we’ve discussed during the segment is how print books have stood the test of time in a world gone digital. Many factors contribute to that trend, but none quite so poignant as one we also mention on the show: the unique sentiment of giving print books as gifts.
The Personal Touch That Lasts
As many times as Brenda and I have talked about how giving books as gifts is a sentimental gesture, that fact became real to me just recently. I was going through old boxes in the attic to dig things out for the annual neighborhood garage sale. It was like going through a media has-beens museum!
Several items made their way to the trash can and not the sale (there’s not much demand for a Hall & Oates cassette or a VHS copy of “Police Academy”). But one item in the box that I forgot I had saved grabbed my attention — an old, worn, and faded hardback copy of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” My grandmother had bought it new when I was a kid, and reading it together every year was part of our holiday tradition.
I couldn’t throw the book away. She had sent it to me as part of a care package while I was away at college, and I have kept it ever since. It’s not so much the book itself that holds value to me; it’s the fact that she personalized it by writing me a note on the inside cover. This made it a very personal gift and something you can’t really do with many gifts outside of books.
Print Books Standing Tall
I have a few books in my collection with inscriptions from the people who gave them to me. It makes the simple gift an instant treasure for years to come. That’s just one of the reasons print books have lasted in the digital age.
When Brenda visited us on The 8th & Walton Conference Call. she dove into the reality of consumers’ fondness for print books. “E-books account for only about 17% of total book sales, and that number continues to diminish,” she explained.
She also explained why a digital book isn’t much of a phenomenon: “One reason movies and music were so quick go digital is these mediums were never portable. Once they went digital, you could take your movie or music anywhere you went. Print books have always been portable, so books going digital wasn’t a huge advantage.”
It’s simple to turn a print book into a lasting treasure. That personal touch added to this personal gift creates memories for a lifetime. To learn more about what’s new on the bookshelf, catch Focus on Suppliers each week.