Millennials -- the youngest generation of adults -- have a reputation for being screen addicts, often using multiple devices at once. This addiction has led to a new anxiety called nomophobia, or fear of being without their phones, and a recent survey found that 41% of millennials interact with their smartphones more than their loved ones.
However, young people’s reliance on technology has not diminished their fondness for booksellers and the good, old-fashioned book. In fact, bookstores are seeing bright futures filled with this new generation of readers.
Millennials Prefer Print Books, Physical Bookstores
Survey says, reading is still a vitally important part of millennials’ media consumption. And not just e-books; 36% of those surveyed spent more money on print books, and 79% read a print book in the last year. That figure may not sound like much, but it’s more than twice as many as those who read an e-book in the same period.
Moreover, young people are buying their print books from physical bookstores more than online retailers, for much the same reason as other generations of book buyers: they value person-to-person interaction and the joys of personal discovery. Forty-five percent said they learn of new books to read and/or purchase through word-of-mouth recommendations, and 28% find new books by browsing in bookstores.
Millennials Are Committed to Shopping Local
Three key attributes of millennials make them more likely to patron their local, independent bookstore: their sense of community, desire for individualization, and their image-based consumption.
The communal nature of Millennials have led them to be especially supportive of their communities. So much so that, in a recent study, 40% of Millennials surveyed are willing to pay more for goods in order to shop locally. They also value shopping experiences tailor-made for them as an individual, another strength of independent businesses. In combination, the act of shopping locally is in itself an act of political self-expression that cements an image of themselves as community committed and tuned in to unique experiences.
Millennials Want to Make Books Cool Again
In part, because of our increasingly wired world, Millennials are more devoted than ever to print books. Nielsen Books and Consumers count this cohort as 37% of the market, an increase of 10 percentage points in the last four years. And they’re spending 82% of their book budget on physical books.
For this young generation that lives a large part of their lives online, the bookstore is a social destination. Reading and paying for print books signals that you are part of a community of readers; they are a badge of “cool.” All for a price that is relatively low compared to many other forms of media and entertainment.
Many bookstores sell used books alongside the new, offer frequent shopper memberships for discounts on new releases and featured titles, and have markdown bins for bargain shoppers. Others host or sponsor book clubs that feature book exchanges, where members can trade this valuable status symbol. Everything old is cool again!
Maximize Your Millennial Appeal
Are you making sure this new generation of readers shops at your independent bookstore? Find out how to capture every opportunity that comes your way here!