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Americans still spend just as much on print books as e-books

Digging for treasure.
Digging for treasure.
(Anne Yungwirth/Getty)

Every now and then, someone bemoans the death of the physical book, pointing out that print sales have been eclipsed by e-book sales. But according to recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumers are purchasing both kinds of reading material almost equally.

In 2013, reports BSL, US consumers spent an average of $29.20 on physical books. The amount they spent in the same time period on e-books? $30.18. Of course, these averages vary among different age groups. For example, 55-64 year-olds spent about 3 times more ($40.28) on physical books than those under 25 years-old ($12.56). On the other hand, 35-44 year-olds spent twice as much on e-books as those over 65.

Here's a chart from the BLS website showing the breakdowns.