The Surprising Way #Shelfies Are Helping The Economy
The Debrief: Millennials are buying more physical media to escape from the online world, and to show off on Instagram
All millennials care about are ephemeral things like avocado toast, Snapchat filters and 24-hour Instagram stories right? Wrong.
New research commissioned by eBay shows that 83% of 18 -24-year-olds bought an item of physical media (things like books and CDs) in the past year, and book sales are expected to rise by 6% to £1.7 billion, according to The Times.
And it’s not just books, last year vinyl sales rose by a surprising 56%, and according to The Economist, nearly 50% of gramophone (that thing you play a vinyl record on) customers are 35 or younger.
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But why now? And why physical things instead of the digital media millennials are used to?
Well, there are a couple of reasons, researchers in the eBay commissioned study found that the #shelfie trend was behind the growth in book sales – young people are buying books so that they can take pictures of their bookshelves and post them online.
About 70% of the survey respondents said they liked the feel of physical items, and 62% used them as an escape from the online world.
But young people do actually read these books too, 18 – 29-year-olds are the age group most likely to have read a book, in any format over the past year, according to Pew Research Center.
Three people who know this very well are the hosts of literature podcast Mostly Lit, who discuss books and pop culture weekly.
'E-reading didn’t quite destroy the publishing world as was possibly expected,' Mostly Lit host Rai told The Debrief.
'It shook the table and spilt some things but young people recognised just how important print books are. Millennials may not be able to afford homes but we can afford books and we can read them.’
The hosts regularly invite their listeners to share pictures of their book collections on Twitter under the hashtag #ShowDemBooks.
Booming book sales are also down to literature-loving influencers and a rise in book discussions online, says Clarissa Pabi, Senior Marketing Executive at Ebury Publishing/Penguin Random House.
'As a millennial myself and someone who works in the publishing industry, I think that one of the reasons that millennials are buying more books is because of the multiplicity of formats and books available. Whether you're interested in physical books, audiobooks or ebooks you can buy most books easily and read in a way that suits you.
'More important than book formats, however, I think that the rise of social media and online platforms has meant that millennials can share their opinions and love of books authentically and at a large scale.
'From podcasts like Mostly Lit, to YouTubers like Leena Norms, Rosianna Halse Rojas, BooksandQuills and Patricia Bright, there are a host of millennials sparking millennials interests in books in an authentic, creative and engaging way.
'These people speak directly to millennials in the way they want to be spoken to and they are changing reading from being a solitary exercise to a social one which is really exciting.'
Main image courtesy of My Domaine
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