Book readers have realised that you can’t replace the feel of turning a real page | Tim Adams squib

Record sales show that even the ability to carry thousands of books in one portable electronic device is not enough

In 2009, when Amazon’s Kindle ebook was launched in the UK, it seemed impossible to imagine that a dozen years later booksellers would be reporting a record year of sales of paperbacks and hardbacks. Despite the fact that bookshops were closed for three months early in 2021, figures show that the rejuvenation of the printed word has gathered pace.

That trend undermines the tech companies’ seductive promises that apps and platforms will always and inevitably eclipse physical objects. The unexpected triumph of printed books – partly a result of their enhanced design values – proves that not all upgrades represent progress.

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