Friday, October 4, 2013

Book Industry Should Aim For The 15% Who Shun Internet

It’s hard to believe, but one in seven Americans never go online -- not at work, not at home, not at school, not at the library. That’s right -- 15% of a nation of 310 million do not use the Internet.

So who isn’t online?
·         Older people
·         Poor people
·         Less educated people
·         Physically handicapped
·         Non-whites

This should alarm everyone but those in book publishing should see this as an opportunity to sell printed books to these digitally deficient individuals.

Interestingly, 92% of those who aren’t online said it was a decision made by choice. Only 8% of the non-users feel disenfranchised.

These are the results of a Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. Further, another 9% of the nation is only online via work and not at home. This means about a quarter of Americans do not access the iIternet at home. Hard to believe.

Still, there may be an opportunity to reach out to the population that shuns the e-world.

Is the battle to save print dependent upon the 15% who avoid the ‘net? Maybe.

The biggest reason so many are off-line still appears to be economics. 25% of households with income under $30,000 are off the online grid but only 4% of those with $75,000+ household income are away from the Internet.

In 1995, 14% said they were online. Five years later, 50%  were online. In 2007, three in four were online.

If the book world can properly market to the 15% that would give it an advantage. It’s important that books be sold -- not only to ensure others learn as a result-but to allow for a balance in the marketplace between digital and print.

Those who have opted out of the Internet do not read e-books. But they also are missing out on everything the world discusses, sells, and shares. Though it wasn’t long ago that we lived without the Internet, it’s hard to imagine life without it. But until 46 million or so figure out they should be online, I hope publishers find them and sell printed books to them.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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