Friday, May 30, 2008

From Publishers Lunch:
Profiles of American Book Buyers

Zogby International released results from a nationwide online survey of the reading and book-buying habits of over 8,000 representative adults, commissioned by Random House (which will publish a book with Zogby later this year).

The overall portrait shows Americans as light readers and book purchasers (half buy fewer than 10 books a year; just 14 percent buy more than 20 a year for themselves) who are highly unlikely to buy an e-reading device (3 percent own one; 4 percent plan to buy); more influenced to buy a book by public radio (15 percent) than Jon Stewart (8 percent) who still rans above Oprah Winfrey (5 percent); light sellers of their books when finished with them (only 3 percent do so) and big online customers (more people buy often online, 43 percent, than anywhere else, including chains, at 32 percent) at Amazon in particular--which 66 percent named as online retailer they frequent.

The most-frequently named factor in making someone want to buy a book is suggestions from friends and family (60 percent), followed by book reviews (49 percent). Thirty-one percent of online shoppers "depend on online reviews for recommendations" (it's not clear if these are consumer reviews, though).In contrast to some previous data, 38 percent of the respondents said that "very often" they go into a bookstore knowing what they're looking for while 43 percent said that's the case "somewhat often." Still, 77 percent said they will at least some times make additional unplanned book purchases when were looking for a specific title. The subject is what draws most browsers first (48 percent).The single biggest factor in choosing books was the idea of making a special effort to look for other books by an author you have enjoyed, with 89 percent confirming this behavior.
Store placement influenced selection 33 percent of the time; 52 percent said they have sometimes judged a book by its cover, and 35 percent have been influenced by an author endorsement.And in a sensible conundrum, people are reading both less (30 percent said yes) and more (23 percent said yes) in the past year.Of course that paradox raises an important point in looking at all of the information, interesting as it may be: It measures what people *think* they do, which isn't necessarily the same as what they actually do.The full study is worth a read, and is said to be available via Results will also be presented in a forum at BEA on Friday morning.

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