Book Readers by the Numbers

Zogby.com, a polling company, in conjunction with Random House, recently released an interesting study about American book buyers and readers. Here are a few of the more interesting tidbits grouped by category:

Ebooks
82% preferred printed books to other technology, with women preferring print slightly more than men.

Bookstores
81% go to the bookstore with a specific book in mind, but nearly as many—77%—will make unplanned purchases.

Book Choices
Nearly half, at 48%, choose a book first by its subject.

(Personal note: this is where the “Jewish Fiction” subject comes in. If it gets shelved with Religious Fiction, the vast majority of which is Christian, it gets lost. Same might go for when it’s mainstreamed into general fiction. If you’re looking for Jewish fiction, where do you go?)

Next up, author (24%), title, and word of mouth.

Influences to Buy
The much-touted word of mouth (WOM) influences 60% of people to buy a book; almost half (49%) base their purchases on reviews.

I find this bit about reviews fascinating, as there are fewer and fewer channels for reviews, especially in print, but more and more online. I just find it interesting that regular folks and not just book buyers and others in the industry are reading those reviews.

Cover Story
More than half (52%) judge a book by its cover, but those 65 and older are less likely to do so (34%) than those under 30 (66%).

Author’s Fan Club
A whopping 89% will look for other books from an author they like.

Used Book Sales
57% keep the books they buy. 34% loan or give them away. Only 3% sell their books when done.

Authors and publishers have often lamented how they see no royalties or profits on used book sales, yet no such complaint exists on books loaned or given away, including by libraries. This statistic makes for an interesting counter-argument.

Competition With Books
23% of people are spending more time reading and 30% are reading less. Of those reading less, most are choosing to spend their time online (65%), watching TV (35%), or playing video games (18%).

You can read the full results at Zogby News.

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