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  • Writer's pictureSean Dollwet

Print is BACK! What it Means for Self-Publishers Amid Digital Fatigue

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

The digital world is unsurprisingly changing. Initially, the digital age promised a game-changing blow to traditional publishing.

Tech Giants such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook, played a tactful game of chess and were able to maneuver this revolution, which further confirmed the potential downfall of print as we know it.

However, now a recent article by Fortune.com discusses a thought-provoking turn of events: digital fatigue is now a thing and print may be back.

So what does this mean for all you self-publishers?

The Transformation of Publishing:

For many years now, technology’s evolution has provided the perfect platform for digital media to explode past its prime.

This explosion brought about an ecosystem where tech giants could flourish and dominate globally, from using data to tailor content to providing personalized recommendations.

As a result, the convenience, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness of digital content were instantly becoming the new fad, which saw print media slowly decline.

Furthermore, self-publishing in turn, also became more popular, with platforms like Amazon KDP, now providing profitable paths for people to publish their work and grow their own businesses.

Basically, the digital landscape was now more attractive than before.

Digital Fatigue is Now a Thing:

This is the exhaustion from overuse, in this case, the overuse of digital devices and the digital platform.

When putting out digital content, the number of hours people spend on their screens should be considered. Especially, when it has been shown that excessive screen time, can lead to decreased productivity.

As a result, people have chosen to limit their digital consumption and look to alternative ways, which also resulted in a boost in print media.

Print’s Unexpected Resurgence:

Now we are gradually seeing life come back to traditional publishing. The article by Fortune.com even provided the following numbers to prove this change:

  • A survey said that only 29% of readers in the United States, prefer reading magazines online.

  • In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, publishers sold over 60 million more print books than in 2019.

  • It is even breaking the demographic of print appealing to more older audiences. Now, two-thirds of adults from ages 18-34, prefer printed content.

  • In 2022, over 788.7 million copies of print books were sold in the U.S.

  • As of April 9, 2023, the most recent quarter saw sales of 184.4 million copies of print books.

The consensus here is that print book sales and printed content, in general, are skyrocketing like crazy.

Now even independent bookstores are seeing increased sales, Barnes and Noble included, and Amazon- who initially revolutionized digital publishing, is now coming up with strategies, to also come up top in this new turn.

The 6 Things Publishers Should Do as a Result:

  1. Diversify, if you have been only focusing on the digital side of things, now’s the time to spread. Consider, diversifying your offers of your books by including print versions along with the other versions you are releasing. With this growing demand, you can gain an alternative revenue and viewership stream.

  2. Focus on quality, now that print books are gaining traction, the physical aspect that you put into your book can make or break you. The quality of the print, the feel of the book cover, and its design only enhance the experience and will make your book stand out from the competition

  3. Build a strong brand, you can very easily work this rise of print popularity to your benefit and brand. Your cover, type of print, and the design as a whole are all part of the reader’s experience. Make it unique to your brand and invest in a quality design that makes your book and business more appealing.

  4. Utilize traditional marketing channels, physical books can bring opportunities for marketing that can’t always be done with e-books. Book signings, local bookstore distributions, reading sessions, and book fairs all provide profitable ways to promote and grow your business’s community.

  5. Be strategic with your pricing, physical books are more expensive, obviously. To help this, consider carefully planning out costs and pricing for your print books so you are able to gain more money than you are putting in.

  6. Understand your audience, do also keep in mind that even though print is popular, it doesn’t mean everyone prefers this. So take the time to understand your audience’s preferences and adjust your offers accordingly.

Powering Forward:

The digital revolution no doubt is making significant strides in the publishing world, and it is also just as clear, that print is far from dead.

Nonetheless, the rise of digital fatigue and now rise in print media, still gives publishers to enhance their business with unique opportunities.

Just like with technology, the publishing industry is always evolving and changing, thanks to innovation. The best way to come out ahead of the competition is to evolve and adapt to the changing behavior and trends, and curate them to your success.


If you would like to see these strategies and how to put them into action, look into the Royalty Hero course here: https://go.royaltyhero.com/dtc-180?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=blog_click&utm_content=inline


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