The New Age of reading: how Generation Z is leading a physical book comeback

What's more beautiful than leafing through the pages of books: Gen Z rediscovers this pleasure which is increasingly spreading thanks to Instagram and TikTok

Generation Z is flocking back to bookstores with renewed enthusiasm, rekindling their passion for physical books over e-books. Reading has become a stylish trend, fueled by the rise of book clubs and celebrities like Timothée Chalamet, Kendall Jenner, and Jacob Elordi sharing their favorite reads on Instagram.

On TikTok, the youth are displaying a strong preference for physical books over e-books. The aesthetic aspect plays a crucial role, with users sharing reviews of paper books, showcasing colorful covers, the thickness of the book, and signs of wear: experiences unattainable with digital books.

Generation Z cherishes the tactile experience of holding a book, stacking them, and even smelling them. On BookTok, a sub-genre of TikTok, there are videos dedicated to “annotation tours,” where users show books filled with post-it notes, underlining, and marginalia, serving as a visual indicator of how much a book is enjoyed.

The Data Speaks Volumes

According to The Guardian, the UK saw a record sale of 669 million physical books in 2022. Research by Nielsen BookData highlighted that physical books accounted for 80% of Generation Z’s purchases from November 2021 to 2022. Libraries report a 71% increase in in-person visits from Generation Z, who return to enjoy reading undisturbed.

Generation Z has confirmed their love for books, debunking the notion that it was merely a passing fad. For these young individuals, books are not just content; they represent emotions, memories to share, and a complete sensory experience that begins with exploration in a bookstore, continues with reading on a couch or in reading groups, and ends with the display of books on a home shelf, ready to be recommended.

In essence, Generation Z enjoys reading, being photographed while reading, talking about books, and greatly prefers physical copies over e-books, clearly stating that without a book to flip through, it’s just not the same. This often-criticized generation has rediscovered a love for books that seemed almost lost in previous generations. And it appears to be much more than just a fleeting trend.

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