Not dead yet

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Are paper books, the kind you don’t read on screens, making a comeback? Not quite, but . . .

Public affection for print runs deeper than some had thought. On the eve of the London Book Fair, a three-day trade extravaganza that starts on Tuesday, optimism is rippling through the industry that it can weather the digital age. The idea that the ebook will kill the paperback seems increasingly like a tall tale.

Total spending on print and electronic books increased by 4% to £2.2bn in 2014, according to market data firm Nielsen. Ebooks now account for around 30% of all books published, including almost 50% of adult fiction. But the decline in print is levelling off as migration to ebooks declines. For some in the industry, it is a sign the dust is beginning to settle after the great digital shake-up.

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