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Who buys books these days?

by YvonneEve 14 March 2011 8 Comments

I’ve just finished a 10-stop Blog Tour for MURDER @ PLAY. 10 unique posts of 300-500 words. 10 gracious hosts who took the time and trouble to advertise and leave thoughtful comments. Over 100 readers stopped by. Almost everybody loved the book’s premise. Not many people rushed to order a copy.

The Christine Chamberlain series

I get that. Difficult times and all. A bookwork myself, I’m ashamed to admit I use library books for 95% of all my fiction reading. I still buy books for my children, though now that they’re outgrowing picture books and the habit of re-reading a book a million times, I’m relying on the library for them more and more.

So who buys books these days? A quick foray into Googleland revealed the following nuggets:

  • Women make 64 percent of all book purchases, even among detective stories and thrillers, where they buy more than 60 percent of that genre.
  • Your typical “e-book power buyer” (i.e. someone who buys at least one e-book every week) is an urban or suburban 30-44 year old with a full-time job.  Next in line are 45-54 year olds, followed by 18-29 year olds. 
  • When asked about the primary factors in book-purchasing decisions, 52% of survey respondents cited author reputation, 49% said personal recommendations, 45% said price, 37% said reviews, 22% said cover artwork and blurbs, and 14% said advertising (including online advertising).

I’m curious what makes people want to buy a fiction book. Here are some of my reasons:

  • I can’t imagine better decoration for any room, bedroom included.
  • I love owning a whole shelf of Agatha Christie, Terry Pratchett, Mary Higgins Clark.
  • I want to support budding authors.
  • Some books I want to read as soon as they hit the stores, without having to wait for weeks in the library queue.

What about you? What would make you click through to an online bookstore right now and spend money on a novel?


  • Laurie Ryan said:

    A recommendation from a friend, first and foremost. Well, that may be tied with supporting fellow authors. And when I like one book in a series, I generally buy the whole series. This is what I love so much about e-books. I recently read a book that I didn’t realize wasn’t the first in the series. When I finished it, I hit shop on my nook and voila! I had the rest of the series. :)

  • Stacey Joy Netzel said:

    I get sucked in by blurbs and excerpts. And I primarily buy ebooks these days, to support friends who are epublishing.

  • Lavada Dee said:

    I’m with Laurie in that I will immediately purchase other books in a series if I grab a book in that series and like it. And, I love that I can get them in e-book right away and not have to wait. I read certain authors but I’d say most of the books I purchase and I buy a lot, is from impulse buying at grocery stores, rarely do I go to book stores and when I do I spend way to much. So in this order. Though I’m finding online is starting to increase.

    Grocery stores or retail stores that I’m in for something else. Authors I follow, covers, blurbs – 80%
    online from reviews, online promotions, recommendations, support fellow authors. – 19%
    bookstores usually I’m looking for a new release. 1%

  • JK Coi said:

    These days I buy mostly on recommendation or if it’s an author I’ve already read

  • YvonneEve (author) said:

    Ebooks are great the way you just click PAY and download. Now I either need a Kindle or a POD printer and binder, and I never need to leave the house, LOL.

  • eliza said:

    Great post Yvonne! Thanks for sharing those statistics, that’s very interesting!

    I usually buy on recommendation, or if its an author I know–I like to support fellow authors.

    I’ve cut back so far this year in purchasing books however, because my TBR physical pile is well over 200 now (sort of taking over the house) and my electronic copies are filling up quite a bit of memory on my e-reader. I’m thinking this summer I will do a reading marathon.

    I don’t use the library very much for myself (see above about TBR pile), however, I make weekly trips to the library for my daughers and hubby.

    My daughter recently received a kindle, and I am buying her at least 2 kindle books a week as part of her allowance. Those I look on amazon at bestsellers, books by author’s she likes and I buy from recommendations.

  • Jeannie Ruesch said:

    My Kindle is a dangerous thing. LOL It lets me buy books without thinking about it. I buy most of my books, because I’m a repeat reader. I love reading books more than once (though less of that lately.) And now that I don’t have to find six more bookshelves to shelve them all, it works out nicely. 😉

    But choosing to buy a physical book these days is different – it has to be a favorite author, and usually it’s an impulse buy.

  • Phil Nothstein said:

    I strongly feel that every American voter should read this book to find out what happened to their country.


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