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Long Live Print: Physical books thrive in the digital age

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May 22, 2024 — by IDWRITERS

Last updated on May 22, 2024 at 11:27 pm

When the pandemic forced physical bookstores to close, other distribution channels stepped up to fill the vacuum and bring printed books closer to their readers.

Around this time last year, the country was shaken by the news that 70-year-old bookstore chain Toko Gunung Agung was about to close all of its remaining shops. It felt as though it was the harbinger of death for the beloved printed book.</p></div><p>The reality is much less grim, however. Readership is in fact growing outside the boundaries of conventional book distribution, with the erosion of traditional systems giving way to an opportunity for publishers to be closer than ever to their most important stakeholder: readers.

Take avid book reader Gustra Adyana, for example. A frequent visitor of literary festivals, Gustra often brings home travel books after listening to their authors&rsquo; passionate accounts of a memorable trip.

It’s more convincing when I can see the author themselves and hear the book discussed,&rdquo; said Gustra, who also heads the Indonesian program of the Ubud Writers &amp; Readers Festival (UWRF). He also checks TikTok regularly, where his favorite authors share recommendations. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not uncommon for me to buy books on TikTok. So I don’t really go to bookshops anymore.

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