Sunday, May 24, 2009

Readers are Changing Buying Habits Big Time

I read a blog this week that discusses how the book buying public is changing and, based on the statistics in that blog, there’s some pretty interesting stuff going on. Five years ago, I kept hearing how fiction ebooks will not catch on for years to come and when they do, it will be the younger generation who will buy the books. Well, according to data collected by PubTrack, a syndicated consumer research service, that prediction is wrong. PubTrack obtains monthly data, by way of detailed questionnaires from over 36,000 book buyers, whose gender, age, and income run the gamut, and the results in some areas are astonishing.

Some of the compiled data was posted in a blog titled “The New Book Buying Realities” by Charlotte Abbott, which you can read at You’ll have to scroll down a bit, though, as she posted the blog on May 14th.

A sampling of the data reveals that 67% of potential readers now find reviews online rather than through traditional print media. Also, the largest group of Kindle users are people age 50 or older, followed by the 18-34 group. Also, while ebooks represent only 1.5% of all books sold, ebook sales grew by 125% in 2008 alone, and a whopping 183% among readers who were age 65 and over, and 174% for the 55-65 age group. Wow.

Here’s an interesting stat: people ages 35 to 49 generally prefer to use their iPhones to read ebooks. Geez, I don’t even own an iPhone and I don’t know anyone in my family who does. Also, most people (48%) are still using their computers or laptops to read ebooks.

In case your head isn’t spinning yet, here’s a few more stats:

In 2008, 45% of Americans read a book last year, yet 50% of Americans, age 13 or older bought a book. The average age of readers was 44 and 58% of those readers are women. The average reader spends 5.2 hours per week reading, 15 hours online, and 13.1 hours watching TV. Apparently, going online surpassed watching TVas the primary activity in 2008, which doesn’t really surprise me. And I’m sure there are a lot of us who do both at the same time.

Anyhow, there are many more statistics on the blog and plenty of topics for discussion, so if you’re interested don’t forget to check out the wordpress blog.

Happy reading.

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