Why Books Continue to Remain Popular in the Digital Age

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As a medium for communication, the book is one of the oldest and most persistent forms which have existed in the last few centuries. 

Unlike other technologies such as telegrams and smoke signals, books have outgrown their antiquated formats and evolved over time while retaining their original charm and character. 

Books are still regarded as the ‘official’ source of detailed knowledge about a topic

Because of the editorial and review process, hardback and paperback published titles from the main publishing houses are regarded as credible and authoritative.

A book would outrank an article on a website or even a magazine column in this regard. A typical book will fall between 80,000 and 250,000 words. Such a large body of content requires a great deal of diligence in organising, collating and writing that many authors have genuine revelations and surprises as they write a book. This all helps to feed the transformative and holistic feel that a book can have, compared to short-form content. 

If someone wants to provide their official account of a period in their lives, they’ll write an autobiography. If someone wants to set the record straight about a scandal or a historical event, they’ll write a book. It’s a format that welcomes detail and allows a reader to peruse at their own ideal reading speed, which prevents the volume from every overwhelming the audience.

It’s not surprising that when a politician such as a US President or a British Prime Minister steps down or leaves office after an election, they pick up the pen and begin writing a memoir that records their time in office. 

Book deals have increased in size in recent years. The Obama’s were reportedly advanced the staggering sum of $65m for their books, released after they left office. Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ has reportedly sold over 15 million copies since release, and Barack’s title is heading towards 5 million copies, which is set to make it one of the bestselling presidential memoirs in the modern age. 

The fact that books are still the communication method of choice for people like world leaders, who have the option of any media platform they choose, shows that the book format is still held on a pedestal by many.  

Lockdown has led to a surge of interest in special topics such as house plants and the financial markets

During the pandemic, lifestyles have shifted and our interests shifted as a result. Many found themselves in search of cookbooks to help provide new inspiration for lockdown classics such as banana loaf. Others focused on the interiors they found themselves confined to, by growing house plants and tackling adventurous DIY challenges. 

Others, particularly the young, took an interest in the financial markets and began researching and learning about investing in equities and other instruments listed on the financial markets. 

To cater for this demand, publishers have cranked out title after title for money-conscious millennials. Books for investors now outnumber traditional budget & money-saving titles on the personal finance shelves of UK book shops. 

Book reading is promoted as a mindful activity that allows people to unwind from a stressful lifestyle

There are few opportunities that encourage you to switch off or put down your electronic device and give your whole and undivided attention to something in your physical presence. 

Of course, books aren’t the only gateway to a mindful experience. Some people love sports, and others love meditation. Books fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum from extreme stimulation to zero stimulation. They’re written to be entertaining and engaging, yet they still slow down the pace of thought and can help bring a stressed-out soul back to a more relaxed baseline.

Books about mental health and mindfulness themselves are becoming a burgeoning niche within the health and wellbeing book category. Ruby Wax’s award-winning paperback ‘Frazzled’ brought the concept of mindfulness to the mainstream with a chatty written style and the clever introduction of metaphor into a book that could have otherwise been overwhelmed by science.