As our digital lives grow busier, consumers are reaching for something real.

Dave Pilcher via LinkedIn [ https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/real-books-theyre-so-2019-dave-pilcher/ ]

It was the end of 2017, and there were a lot of rumblings about the resurgence of print books.

“Books have always had a fetishistic quality to them, with their dusty secretiveness,” wrote Alex Preston in The Guardian in December that year. “Now, though, it feels like we’re living through a special moment in the history of book design and beautiful books are everywhere.”

He cited several examples of that year’s new releases, including George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo and Peter Frankopan’s The Silk Roads, with its cover inspired by mosaic from the Imam mosque at Isfahan. Even the classics are getting makeovers, like the stunning Penguin Hardcover Classics reissue of the works of F Scott Fitzgerald, or its clothbound editions of Austen, Brontë and Dickens.

“It’s hard to know whether to read these books or caress them,” he wrote.

Apparently, we are doing both, if books sales figures are any indication.

“In the UK,” writes Natasha Frost in Quartz, “Nielsen BookScan recorded year-on-year book sale growth of 22 million pounds ($28 million). It’s likely that 2018 will top 2016’s total sales of 1.59 billion pounds, too, with booksellers on both sides of the Atlantic noting an anecdotal uptick in sales and browsing customers.”

As Frost notes, this bodes well for UK booksellers, and the same it seen here in the U.S. Indies, where the number of indie bookstores has grown since 2009, and sales of physical books are up for the past 5 straight years.

“We’re buying books, and we’re favoring the kind you can borrow, lend, or drop in the bath: In 2017, print book sales were up 10.8% from four years earlier,” Frost writes. “Between 2016 and 2017, however, e-book sales actually dropped 10 percent. In October [2018], book sales were at $699 million, up by $50 million from a year earlier.”

It’s more proof that nothing beats a real book when it’s time to curl up and relax … and the experience is not nearly as satisfying on a digital screen.

“There’s nothing like the smell of old books or the crack of a new one’s spine,” wrote Abigail Wise in Real Simple. “Plus, you’ll never run low on battery.”

Maybe it’s time to get yourself to one of those great new indie shops, or reactivate that library card and bring home a big stack. There’s nothing like going deep into a real book to help you relax, comprehend and remember.

Books … they’re so 2019.