Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Buying Trends Of Readers

I was sitting with the dance moms at my daughter's recital this last weekend and we were talking about books. Again, I heard the same comments I continue to hear time and time again:

  • "I love the feel of a book in my hands when I read."
  • "Sure, I'll get a book for my iPad but I really hate reading on the thing."
  • "I really wish bookstores were back, I used to read so much more."
  • "I can't even figure out the darn reading apps."
I am always hearing comments like this. And yet, daily we are bombarded here on the Internet with articles and blog posts showing "supposedly" more people wanting to move to a digital books. We hear publishing professionals proclaim in business meetings, write articles for magazine and sit on conference panels that "readers really do want to see more things digitally."

But on the streets, I keep hearing otherwise.

I even hear from writers who will tell me they love books in the traditional format.

Yes, we know brick and mortar stores disappeared, and now, it seems much of the reason for this shift was not so much the book buying trends but the bad business models some of the stores used. Many of these stores forgot they were a book seller and attempted to do much more.

So I thought I would try something. I will tell you, this will only work if we get some feedback from you.

What I am asking is to do a little survey for me. At the same time, ask all those around you what book format they really prefer. Take out the cost factor. Take out the fact that they might be forced to use Amazon because their bookstore shut down. Let's just focus on the book buying trends.

I also have a 4 questions survey you can take that would help us out! Forward this link to your friends. As we all know, the more numbers we get, the more accurate the results will be.

SURVEY LINK! (Now that the survey is done, I have removed the link! Thank you to those who responded!)

Honestly, I would love to know this. 


  1. Although I love the convenience of an e-book, if the book is a keeper - I want it in print. An e-book is great for vacation, not so serious reads, taking along when you know you'll be sitting and waiting, but an e-book just doesn't fill out a book shelf like a print book does. And there's nothing like exploring a bookstore - Amazon, despite its might, doesn't compare.

  2. I love our local bookstore. I try to buy something every time I go in, even if it's just a tea. The prices of their books are usually cost prohibitive for my budget (as are most on Amazon). If I buy a new book, it is for a holiday/birthday gift or for school (read: no choice) and unavailable at the local library.

    I like the prices of digital books on Amazon (free? can't beat that), but petty or not, I greatly prefer a physical book that looks good on my shelf.

    Our library sells used books for 25 cents (even if they are $40 books). I lurk there often.

  3. This comment may not help this conversation, but in a way it is relative. It is something I have wondered about -- because I, too, am curious at t the popularity of eBooks when I find them totally annoying...except....

    I did ask my friends what format they prefer their books to be in. Overwhelmingly, the answer is "in print form". Me too.

    The crowd I run with loves old, out of print books (mostly history). Thanks to Amazon's and free collection of rare books, I have downloaded a huge number of eBooks, as have many my friends. These are books we could never get anywhere else. Both places do offer bound print copies of these old books, but they are print on demand (Xerox type copies) that cost a fortune, around $300.00 - $350.00 per book.

    I have friends who have downloaded even more books than I have. So while we all shun eBooks, we don't.

    And what of the authors who give away free eBooks to artificially drive up their sales numbers and get a ton of reviews?

    So, here is my wonderment. Could all this free eBook downloading be skewing the data and making eBooks appear to be much more popular than they really are? And maybe the proponents of eBooks are simply jumping on the digital bandwagon and pushing the numbers for all they are worth.
    Just a thought. Probably no answer.
    Kate M

  4. One of the first questions you should ask of those people commenting about paper versus digital is how many books they read and buy.

    It's been my experience belonging to various large reading groups online that heavy readers are more likely to go digital. People who read a few books a year or one a month are more likely to read paper.

    The big point, though, is that a book should exist in as many formats as possible so it's available to anyone who wants to buy it.

  5. I agree with Marilynn Byerly. I believe the fact that books exist in many formats is to everyone's advantage. I can tell you that I have purchase more books on a regular basis digitally. I own many print books and there are some kinds of books that do not work digitally. I don't think it should be a matter of either or - there's room for print and digital formats.