Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Surprises On Who Buys What Type Of Books – and From Where

E-book growth is slowing down, and in some cases, e-book sales are declining.  The Association of American Publishers released a study that shows, in terms of the number of books sold, 32% of adult fiction is sold as an e-book.  Just 17% of adult non-fiction is sold as an e-book. 15% of all juvenile books are sold as e-books – down from 2012.  Perhaps the future of the book industry rests in the hands of teens.

According to the AAP, surveyed teens show a leaning toward print.  1 in 2 prefer print.  1 in 5 prefer e-books.  1 in 4 don’t care.  The most popular genres for teens are adventure, fantasy, and science-fiction.

Books are purchased in stores 62% of the time.  27% are purchased online and 13% are purchased some other way, such as catalog/mail order.  But the store market is not what you think.  Barnes & Noble still moves the most units, as a store, but Wal-Mart now has a chunk of the business, as do independent stores, supermarkets, Target, Costco, Christian bookstores, airport stores, Books-A-Million, and thrift or discount stores.

Here’s one shocker in the book market.  YA books, by unit numbers, are purchased 34% of the time by 18-29 year-olds and 21% by 13-17 year-olds.  But this means 45% of YA books are purchased by 30+ year-olds.  People 55 and older account for 1 in 11 YA sales.  It looks like publishers and authors need to market YA to older people.

So what do all of these numbers mean?  It shows there’s diversity and variety in the marketplace when it comes to format and genre preferences.  It means people buy books from many sources and that any book marketing plan needs to take this into account.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, 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 © 2014.

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