Thursday, February 25, 2010

So, Who's Reading All Those Books?

My pal Kurt Navratil, who finds some of the most interesting things on the 'Net, sent over a survey of readers this morning that's revealing. The survey is here, but I'll tell you some of what's in it.

Readers, by a slight--and surprising--margin, buy their books at local independent shops. They prefer those shops by a margin of 21.5 percent to 21.4 percent over chains and 20 percent online. Big box retailers (Walmart, for example) are preferred by one in 10.

The most avid readers (five hours a week or more, which I wouldn't call avid so much as average) are older. The group between 25 and 34--out of school, involved in building careers and rearing children--read less than any other group. What surprises me is that 40.9 percent of us read two hours a week or less, which is tragic in a country that's not very smart to begin with. Just 27.7 percent of us read more than five hours a week. TV watching still bumps books is my guess.

Why do we buy books? More than half say they're for "entertainment/education" and 22 percent buy them for somebody else (gift, grandkids). Eleven percent buy business books.

And what prompts the purchase? A book signing brings in 69 percent of purchasers; 42 percent buy based on staff recommendations;' 35 percent because the book is a bestseller; and 33 percent because they saw the book in an ad. Half buy on the basis of the author's reputation and half have had the book recommended (there's a good bit of overlap there, as well).

Do you want an e-reader (like a Kindle)? A stunning 49 percent said "no, baby." Two percent of readers own one. Of those who have e-readers, 28 percent read while traveling and 41 percent read at home.

Take a look at the entire survey. It's an interesting snapshot of our culture and perhaps a predictor of our future.

1 comment:

  1. You can check out my Recommended Reading Series on my Facebook page at:!/notes/james-glass/recommended-reading-series/334626387563

    The series focuses on how our collective value systems affect the ways we harness energy and since I work in construction and real estate, it also highlights our energy affects building and transportation. My argument is that transportation is a subset of building (you only move people and stuff between buildings and places). I've put up five books so far and I plan to share many more.