It's Me Again …

on June 6, 2013

Yeah, me again. I meant to get a guest blogger, but was so wrapped up in my revisions that I forgot :/

So … this is going to be a fun day! I’m sharing information about book buying habits. I’m going to give away ONE autographed copy of STOLEN to a lucky commenter. I’ll post the winner here over the weekend, so make sure you check back.

There was a fascinating article over at my former publisher’s website today about trends in book buying from a Bowker presentation.. It was a fairly comprehensive survey, it appears, covering 2012 and the first quarter of 2013. But without crosstabs and more data, it’s hard to say how accurate. Still, it was professionally compiled so it’s worth looking at.

It’s interesting in many different ways, here are the highlights:

In units, 22% of total books are bought in ebook format, 27% in hardcover, and 45% in paperback. (paper includes mass market and trade paper.) What I think is interesting is that everyone says mass market is dying, and maybe it is, but it’s still a very viable format.

While 22% of books are bought digitally, 42% of books are bought from a website. This means that people are ordering physical books on-line. That’s huge. (One caveat — I searched the website but couldn’t figure out how the data was compiled. They used a large group of consumers, which is always good, but it appears that they asked questions via on-line surveys, which means that it disproportionally favors those who are regularly on-line. There are still a lot of people who only use the Internet for email or work, if that.)

The major subgenres was another interesting tidbit. It’s split both fiction and nonfiction, but I only care about adult fiction which makes up 42% of all units sold (basically, nearly half the books sold are adult fiction.) “major subgenres” of adult fiction are:

7% Espionage/Thriller
6% Romance
5% Mystery/Detective
5% General Fiction
4% Literary classics
3% Fantasy

(These are percentages based on ALL books sold, so if looking at just adult fiction, double the numbers to get a more accurate representation.) It’s interesting that they split thriller and mystery … but combined that’s 12% of total books sold, and @24% of fiction sold, outselling romance 2-to-1. (But is it? This is where cross-tabs would have been helpful because there’s no way of telling whether those genre percentages were based on DOLLARS or UNITS. Mysteries and thrillers tend to be more expensive hardcover and trade books, while romance tends to be cheaper mass market and digital books.)

YA makes up HALF of the units sold under “juvenile fiction.” Wow!

Another interesting point: 60% of book buyers are women, but they buy 65% of books sold. (I think this is down from past surveys.) However, women only spend 58% of the book buying dollars. This means–I think–that women are buying more mass market and digital books, while men buy more hardcover (this holds true because men tend to buy more history, biographies, NF, etc which are published primarily in hardcover.) So women read more, and men are more expensive 🙂

But one of the most interesting points was at the bottom of the survey. Readers who buy PRINT books “learn” about the books based on displays in stores or browsing shelves. Readers who buy EBOOKS learn most about books from word of mouth, specifically friends and family. Word of mouth was second or print buyers, and online samples was second for digital books.

All in all, it was an informative survey that would have meant more if I had more crosstabs and knew the methodology. (I took statistics in college and know that methodology and cross tabs are where all the valuable data really is!)

Anyway, thought I’d share with you!

To enter for a chance to win STOLEN, tell me where you last purchased a book and whether it was digital or print and where you bought it and why — was it an impulse purchase? A planned purchase? A recommendation from a friend?

The last book I bought was yesterday — I ordered a print copy of JOYLAND by Stephen King via Amazon. I picked it because I love Stephen King and this looks like a classic King story … without being 1,000 pages! How did I know it was out? Well, I was checking my Amazon ranking on STOLEN (yes, I can be a bit obsessed) and saw JOYLAND in one of the lists I was looking at. Thought, wow, it’s out! Gotta get it 🙂