By Emily M. Bresch, staff writer The old-school paper cutter and pen cartridge are making a comeback.
The trend has been driven by digital technology and an increase in paper consumption, according to a report from the Pew Research Center.
It predicts that by 2025, digital-printed books will outnumber physical books on Amazon.com by about 30 million copies a year.
By comparison, digital print sales are expected to be about 1.2 million, according the report.
The rise in digital publishing and the increased ease of ordering paper-based books also contributed to the boom in the paper-cutters market, said Peter M. Mokdad, an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the study.
Paper cutter sales rose by 18% between 2009 and 2021, according a report by Nielsen Bookscan.
Sales of pens and other electronic devices rose by about 17% and paper-pen sales rose 9%.
Both are expected, he said, to grow more than 60% in the same time period.
Some of the new-found popularity comes as publishers have struggled to find ways to keep up with the rapid expansion of digital distribution.
As a result, the paper cutters market has boomed.
“People are increasingly spending more money on paper than they are buying paper products,” said Richard J. Shaver, a professor of sociology at the Ohio State University and a leading researcher on the paper cutter market.
“It’s not surprising that people are spending more on paper.”
In a survey of about 100 paper-cutting retailers in California, New York, and Virginia, the report found that they saw a 10% jump in sales in 2017.
The survey also found that about a third of the paper industry’s annual revenue comes from a single product, with the remaining 60% coming from multiple products, such as stationery, pens, and other items.
The report notes that the trend will continue, as the industry continues to develop and adapt to the digital revolution.
The study’s authors, based on surveys of more than 600 retailers, noted that the growing popularity of digital goods is helping the paper cutting market grow at a rapid rate.
It also highlights the need for the industry to develop a strategy for managing the growing digital marketplace.
“The more consumers are aware of the digital space and how it will impact their lives, the more they will want to purchase paper products and accessories,” said David M. Kostin, director of the Pew Innovation Lab and author of the report, in an interview.
Kostic, a co-author of the study, said the paper market is likely to continue growing at a moderate rate until 2020.