Buoyed by recent news of a slow down in e-book sales publishing folks are cheerily congratulating one another on having successfully seen off the threat. But hang on. We are dealing here with trends. Just because the first few days of 2015 have been very cold in New York, doesn’t mean that global climate change is a myth.

The Digital Reader brings us some Nielsen slides from Jonathan Nowell’s presentation at Digital Book World which put the story into wider context: these are shown below. Wake up guys: print is in decline. It’s been in decline for a few years already, and blips in the quarterly numbers won’t alter this. As the Digital Reader post says “Given that everyone has already been saying that ebooks are predominantly fiction and that multiple textbook startups have failed in the past few years, this comes as no surprise.”

I continue to believe that we will retain a mixed market, with some categories of book going more and more towards e-book dominance, while print will remain strong in other (more specialized and academic) areas. The recently announced acquisition of Courier by Quad Graphics is relevant in this context, however much strategic sense it makes in aligning two groups with complementary capabilities. What we all have to accept is that it isn’t always black and white; it’s always one shade of grey against another (apt given the number of impressions occasioned by that Fifty Shades of Grey over the past year or two). It’ll take years and years to get to a point where no non-de-luxe books are printed, and as the population grows all the time demand for print will doubtless hold up much longer than you might fear. But this trend is not going to reverse itself.