Stories about the imperiled publishing industry have become so familiar that it was something of a shock when publishers reported marked growth this past year. According to Nielsen BookScan, 571 million print books were sold in 2015 -- a 17 million increase from the year before. So what’s driving those sales of physical, paper books? Carolyn Kellogg, books editor at the Los Angeles Times, talks with Brooke about recent successes in publishing and what to expect in 2016.
BOB: From WNYC in New York this is On the Media, I’m Bob Garfield.
BROOKE: And I’m Brooke Gladstone. To kick this hour off, consider all the dead cultural products that aren’t…. dead. For instance, if you think that, say, epic poetry died after Tennyson’s Idylls of the King in the 19th century, or maybe after Ezra Pound’s Cantos in the 20th, check out wikipedia, they’re still being written.
BOB: And of course we’ve heard forever that movies would murder theater (hey, anyone got Hamilton tickets?) and that TV would do in radio (Hey...tap mic...is this thing on?) Turns out, neither is dead yet. Or even wheezing.
And I could go on.
The point is, we’ve all heard that e-books will kill paper books, and since paper books are more profitable for publishers, that will kill the industry.
Ergo: the book, dog-eared and scribbled in, the book we grew up with, is dead.
BROOKE: But not so fast: It lives! Seriously, some numbers: In December 2015, Nielsen BookScan reported that 571 million print books were sold in 2015 -- a 17 million increase from the year before.What’s driving those sales of paper books? And what can we expect from the publishing industry in 2016? Carolyn Kellogg, Books Editor at the Los Angeles Times, welcome to On The Media.
BACK: Carolyn Kellogg is Book Editor at the Los Angeles Times.