There is no need to convince us that a printed book has tons more charm than an e-version. We already know. In 2015, our belief has been confirmed in Flanders. An article in the financial newspaper De Tijd states that the Flemish book market stabilizes and that sales numbers of paper books even increased by 0.2 percent. Such was reported by the annual accounts of trade union Boek.be and market researcher GfK.
The growth of the e-book, on the other hand, has stalled. In the fourth quarter of 2015, merely 1.9 percent of all sold books were e-books, which is a significant drop-off compared to the 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. The fourth quarter is an important indicator because it is, of course, the period when people do their Christmas shopping. A printed book under the Christmas tree is still an appreciated gift, especially when it concerns photo books, cook books, leisure books, children’s books and comic books. That last group is doing remarkably well: in 2015, 10.1% more comic books were sold than in 2014, accounting for a turnover of + 13.8% for the world of comic books.
Still according to the article, the main digitization in the book sector is taking place in distribution (and not in the sale of e-books), for Internet shops are cited as being the fastest growing sales channel.
Finally, De Tijd reports on its website that book sales are also increasing in, inter alia, the Netherlands and France.
(DE PRETER, Wim, E-boeken laten het afweten, De Tijd, 28-01-2016, p. 12)