Forget the stereotype of the tweeting, texting, YouTube-watching millennial with a short attention span. According to the 2012 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Review, if you were born between 1979 and 1989, you spent more money on books in 2011 than older Americans. The survey found that millennials now buy 30 percent of books. In comparison, baby boomers, who have far more disposable income than most millennials, only made 24 percent of book purchases.
This demographic shift isn't a complete surprise since the most literate cities in America are milllennial-friendly college towns. The review's data is certainly welcome news since a literate, educated population is at the heart of a democracy—authors and publishers are undoubtedly celebrating still being in business, too—but the way millennials buy books could spell trouble for bookstores. According to the data, 43 percent of millennials buy books through online vendors and they're leading the way in the adoption of digital texts. Unless this generation develops a sudden nostalgia for perusing the stacks, we'll likely see more bookstores closing.