The Demise of Print Books – Much Ado About Nothing

posted on March 22, 2017 by Eve Panzer
Barefoot Books World Atlas

Being in the business of selling the printed version of children’s books, I am often asked if I am worried about my business “drying-up” due to the introduction of ebooks. I always answer “no,” but this was not based on statistics or studies. I backup my answer with my own personal story.

As a baby boomer, I was brought up with print books. Print books were a big part of my childhood (and every other stage of my life).  For an overweight, extremely shy young child, books provide a happy place for me. Between the pages of a book I could take on any role I wanted.  Eventually, my love affair with books led me to getting a master’s degree in library science and to working in a school library.  

So, I passed my love of print books to my children (there were no ebooks to compete at that time) by reading to them from an early age (in my womb) and by supporting their reading habit from day one. My kids were mesmerized by LeVar Burton on the TV program Reading Rainbow and I watched the episodes with them. I learned a lot about whatever subject was the theme for the day and also got great book ideas for my kids. (And I freely admit I had – and still have – a crush on LeVar Burton!) After the show aired, we would pile into the car and head to our neighborhood library, singing the Reading Rainbow theme. My kids caught on quickly that if we went to a toy store, chances were we would just be window shopping. But if we went to a bookstore, they would never go home empty handed! Books = Happy Place for the next generation.

My children are now adults and even though they both recently acquired ereaders (mostly for when they are traveling), they will tell you without hesitation that they love print books. And when/if my children become parents, their kids will also be raised with print books because my children have such fond book memories from their childhood too. I believe parents will continue to pass the tradition of sharing print books with their children generation after generation.

That is my unscientific, anecdotal evidence that print books will never go out of vogue. However, there is statistical data to backup my opinion. I am pleased to see that print books remain popular in all age ranges and beyond the shores of the U.S.

The Pew Research Center published a report about the reading of print books and ebooks in the United States on September 1, 2016 entitled Book Reading 2016. The report includes many statistics but several main trends were noted:

  • “A growing share of Americans are reading ebooks on tablets and smartphones rather than dedicated e-readers, but print books remain much more popular than books in digital formats.”
  • “The share of Americans who have read a book in the last year is largely unchanged since 2012; more Americans read print books than either read ebooks or listen to audio books.”

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Nearly four-in-ten Americans read print books exclusively; just 6% are digital-only book readers.” -Pew Research[/perfectpullquote]

In addition, “…findings by Nielsen in its annual books and consumer survey” in the U.K. also support the fact that print books remain more popular than ebooks. As reported by The Guardian on March 14, 2017, the Nielsen report found the following to be true:

  • “Younger generations are seeking a respite from their ‘digitally busy’ lives and finding it in physical books.”
  • “Nielsen survey finds U.K. ebook sales declined by 4% in 2016, the second consecutive year digital has shrunk.”
  • “More than 360m books were sold in 2016 – a 2% jump in a year that saw U.K. consumers spend an extra 6%, or £100m, on books in print and ebook formats.”
  • “Nielsen’s survey of 2016 attributed the increase in print sales to children’s fiction and to younger generations preferring physical books to e-readers.

A 2013 survey by the youth research agency Voxburner found that “62% of 16- to 24-year-olds preferred print books to ebooks.” The most popular reason given was: “I like to hold the product.”

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]While Nielsen found that “50% of all fiction sales were in ebook format, only 4% of children’s fiction was digital.”[/perfectpullquote]

So, I have numbers to back me up. I believe that I will not be forced to shut down my children’s’ books educational consulting and book-selling business anytime soon! So as the Reading Rainbow theme song says “..take a look, it’s in a book…” And I would be happy to offer my Barefoot Librarian services to you to find just the right book(s)! Happy Reading!


Raves & Praise from authors and educators about Eve Panzer, the Barefoot Librarian.

Eve Panzer has displayed her wonderful books at several of our Early Childhood events. Our teachers are always excited to see the age appropriate materials she provides.

-Jacquie Porter, Early Childhood Director, Austin ISD

A favorite resource we use everyday in our preschool is a beautiful book! We love to share the joy and excitement of engaging stories to help the children make deep connections to their exploration and learning. The Barefoot Librarian offers THE best selection of books in a full range of topics and targeted age groups to appeal to children of all ages.

-Community School Director, Four Seasons

Eve, the Barefoot Librarian has done a wonderful job at hand-selecting books for my three children, ages 3.5, 4.5 and 7. She considered their interests and reading levels in her selection of 23 titles. Some are bi-lingual, which is ideal since they are learning Spanish and English at the same time. All of the books are beautiful and some come with audio CDs, which they love listening to while having the book on their lap as we commute to school. What a wonderful way to get new books!

-Sharon M., Parent

Faced with the wealth of incredible books available for children, many educators can feel overwhelmed when it comes to choosing titles for the classroom. If you’re a teacher who doesn’t want to resort to the dartboard method, the Barefoot Librarian is your new best friend!

-Audrey Linter, Blogger, Little Pickle Press

“Eve Panzer and her site The Barefoot Librarian is every author’s friend. Her thorough reviews inform readers just how and why a book makes the perfect fit. Reviews are important so people understand whether a potential read will be successful and with reviews like The Barefoot Librarian help make those selections a success!”

-Carole P. Roman, award-winning author

“I was the lucky recipient of a review from Eve Panzer for my debut picture book, SUMO JOE. Not only was her review timely, but she also got to the core of the book and really understood what it was all about. Her blog posts not only look beautiful but are well written and help readers find books for their needs. I highly recommend Eve’s book review services!”

-Mia Wejen – Co-founder of the MultiCultural Children’s Book Day and author of children’s books, including Sumo Joe and the Barefoot Books title Food for the Future, which has received rave reviews from the School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews.

“Eve, the Barefoot Librarian provided me with an excellent service. Being a first-time author, it is a challenge to get your foot in the door and I was really pleased with the process. Not only was it a well thought out and wonderful review, but Eve is lovely and very prompt with her communication. Thank you for a job well done.”

-Sarah Cullen, Author of Nellie the Narwhal and Director Majestic Whale Encounters

Eve Panzer wrote a wonderful review for my debut middle grade novel. I was thrilled at how detailed and thorough the review was. In fact, it has helped me so much as I have sent this review to schools and educators so they can get a good idea of what my book is about. I am so grateful to Eve for her deep insight and analysis of my book. I highly recommend her services to any author looking to get a book review.

-Shirin Shamsi, author of Laila and the Sands of Time and the Barefoot Books title Zahra’s Blessing: A Ramadan Story which received rave reviews from the School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews.

“An author is always nervous to see a review of their book, especially their first book. When I read Eve Panzer’s (the Barefoot Librarian) review of my debut picture book Walkout, I immediately relaxed as I saw her deep connection to the core of the story. She truly understood the character relationships, problem, and message of the book. In addition, Eve’s correspondence was timely, efficient, and professional. I look forward to seeking her expertise and experience for future children’s books.”

-Tina M. Shepardson, Author of WALKOUT

“I was honored to receive a Barefoot Librarian Book Review as an award from this year’s Reader View’s Reviewers Choice awards. I was especially pleased that David’s ADHD was selected, since my greatest hope for the book was to have it shared in libraries so that it is available to all.” “I found her review to be insightful and extremely helpful in presenting the book, including helpful quotes from the book and well as providing encouraging and perceptive comments. I am hoping to use her reviewing service again for future books!”

-Sherrill S. Cannon, Award-Winning Author of David’s ADHD

“As an author, I feel like there’s nothing more rewarding than when grownups really get my message and what I’m trying to portray in the story. Eve Panzer is one of those gems who has been a huge champion for our yoga stories, which are a little outside the box, combining literacy and movement. Her reviews are hugely comprehensive, and it’s clear that she spends quality time getting to know the books and the authors. It was an honor to have one of our first yoga books reviewed by Eve, and I highly recommend her services!”

-Giselle Shardlow, Author and Owner of

Eve Panzer, The Barefoot Librarian, provided an outstanding, valuable review of my children’s book, My Chickens Lay Eggs. Her professional review was written in a comprehensive, yet concise, manner. Most importantly, it specifically highlighted aspects of the book considered relevant to my reader and buyer audiences. I sincerely appreciate the thoughtful time and effort put into the final product and highly recommend her services.

-Sherry Crelin, Author of My Chickens Lay Eggs

Thank you so much for your comprehensive review of Dr. Rosie Helps the Animals …! Your review pointed out the many lessons hidden and not so hidden in the book, which is a bonus for a story that, on the surface, seems relatively simplistic.  Thank you also for including pertinent facts and safety information from the back matter page in your review.

-Rebecca Leopold Publicist, Waterbear Publishing

This is fantastic; thank you so much! Your review really captures everything we love about this title.

-Hannah Thelen (she/her/hers), Editorial and Production Director Women In Botany (Science Wide Open series) by Mary Wissinger, Published by Science Naturally!