An updated snapshot of the book-buying public

A survey conducted by an advertising firm at the end of last year seeks to give us a picture of book buying in America. I can’t vouch for the statistical validity of the internet-based survey, which had 2,200 respondents, It claims to have a 1.5 percent margin of error.

So what did the survey results show?

  • Avid readers (those who buy 10 or more books a year) tend to be female (64%), wealthier and better educated. Estimated to constitute about 70 million people, the avid readers represent 30.2% of the U.S. adult population.
  • Older Americans (45 and older) represent 60% of the avid book-buyers.
  • The principal reason avid readers buy a book is entertainment/relaxation (32%) followed by education/self-improvement (22%).
  • Ereader owners have reached 15.8 percent, more than double what the survey showed a year ago. Among avid readers, that rises to 22.3 percent.
  • There is, though, still strong resistance to ereaders. Some 52% percent of those surveyed and 49.7% of avid readers said it was “not at all likely” that they would buy an ereader this year.
  • Ereader and tablet owners plan to buy as many print books as e-books in the coming year.
  • When it comes to ebook piracy (downloading a book via a bit torrent site), 43.5 percent of ebook reader and tablet owners surveyed said they’ve done so. That rises to 56.5% among males between 18 and 34 — I’m guessing more than a handful of the 15.9% who said “Prefer not to answer” have probably done so.
  • Somehow 10.6% of ereader and tablet owners surveyed “don’t know” if they’ve downloaded an ebook from a bit torrent site. Yeah, right.

The difficulty is that publishers who can market are most often not the publishers with worthy lists.

Olivia Goldsmith, The Bestseller

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