Sunday, August 04, 2013

Interesting Stats About Reading and Book Buying Habits

I came across an interesting survey taken from June 1st to 30th, and conducted by Marie Force, owner of E-book Formatting Fairies. Marie asked 44 questions of nearly 3,000 readers about their book buying habits. Some of her results were a little surprising because they contradict what I’ve read from other sources.

What isn’t surprising, though, was that 77% of readers preferred e-books compared to 52% preferring print. The survey also showed a fair amount of crossover, in that readers often bought both formats and quite possibly more than one version of a favorite book or author.

Also not surprising is that 80% of e-books are bought from Amazon with Barnes & Noble scoring second, but only at 23%. Kobo wasn’t mentioned at all, however, if this American-based survey was presented to Canadian e-book readers, I think the results would be different.

I have to tell you that Marie Force writes contemporary romance  and romantic suspense, and likely acquired participants through her sources. So, when 81% of respondents indicated that their favorite e-book genre is romance, you shouldn’t be surprised. Mysteries came in second, but at only 5%, and science fiction and fantasy weren’t even mentioned.

Now, here’s where things get interesting, and I say this, because I’ve read a lot of blogs and forum discussions lately which state that e-book sales are down in general because readers are less likely to invest time and money in independently published e-books than they used to. Some say that the e-book market is so over-saturated that readers are less inclined to spend time sifting through increasingly long lists of freebies and bargain-priced books. Others maintain that too many indie books are so poorly written and edited that they aren’t worth looking at in the first place.

Given those opinions, it was a surprise to read that 64% of respondents said they paid no attention to who published a book, and didn’t really care. Another 33% said they paid some attention, and only 4% said that the publisher was important. Having said this, the survey also showed that 95% of readers preferred to buy a book from an indie author who was known to them.

There are many more survey results in the piece, plus conclusions drawn at the end. Surveys portray an interesting snapshot of reading and book buying habits, however, we need to keep in mind that the survey taker, respondents’ demographics, and phrasing of questions are just three factors that affect results. While Marie’s survey will be of special interest to romance writers and readers, I would love to see one for mystery readers. If you’ve seen any, let me know!


Barbara Ellen Brink said...

That is a very interesting article. I wasn't surprised by romance being #1. It seems to hold its rankings and popularity much better than other genres that rise and fall at times.
Another thing that affects buyers is obviously reviews. Not necessarily all good reviews but just that other people are reading the book and have an opinion. A lack of reviews can be a detriment for an Indie. I believe many people still live in a world of popular and unpopular, like a teenager who can't do something different cause someone will think they're weird. Someone else has to read it first and tell them what to think:)

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Thanks for your comments, Barbara. You're right, reviews still matter, and the best way to sell a book is through the old tried and true method...word of mouth.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Like Debra says, word of mouth sells more books than anything I know.... but I'm happy to see e-books are holding their own.

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Thanks for your comments, Cathy, and yes, I'm glad they're holding their own too. I don't see things ever going back to the way they were ie., print only. This is good news for trees. :)