(ETX Daily Up) – In the digital age, some fear that books are doomed. But American scientists claim that there is nothing to worry about. They argue that the digitization of global literary production has not had a dramatic impact on book sales.
Even more surprising, the dematerialization of literature would even increase sales of “paper” works by 8%. This phenomenon would be especially visible for little-known books and books written by writers whose literary production has not been digitized.
Abhishek Nagaraj and Imke Reimers, the two academics behind the research, came to this observation after analyzing the sales of 37,743 books that were digitized by Google between 2005 and 2009. Specifically, they compared sales data two years before and after that period to find out , whether the American giant’s project had an impact on the publishing market.
For good reason, when Google announced its intention to create a universal library for all by digitizing millions of works from prestigious American and British libraries in 2004, the news was poorly received in the book world. The American Authors Guild even filed a complaint against Google in 2005 for “massive copyright infringement at the expense of individual authors” in federal court in New York. The American judiciary ruled in favor of the world’s number one search engine and estimated that this project would benefit the entire company.
In any case, Abhishek Nagaraj and Imke Reimers are convinced that this gigantic digital library has benefited the book economy. They found that approximately 40% of digitized titles experienced an increase in sales between 2003–2004 and 2010–2011, compared to less than 20% of non-digitized works. “We didn’t necessarily expect a positive effect on sales. On the other hand, we expected a positive effect on consumption patterns, because if the book is readily available online, people will find it more easily and of course use it.” more,” Imke Reimers said in a statement.
The findings of this study, published in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, show that digital technologies will not lead to the demise of the traditional bookstore. We’ve seen this clearly with Bookstagram and, more recently, BookTok, a literary community on TikTok. Internet users who participate in this huge reading club recommend different works to read, causing unexpected literary successes. Proof, if any more were needed, that the book is anything but out of date.