Sunday, October 19, 2014

What Are America's Reading Habits?

Earlier this year the fifth installment of Digital Book World, held annually in New York City, revealed the book industry is losing teen readers to other forms of digital entertainment.  The same study - put out by Nielsen Book – shows only 4% of all book buyers read e-books only.  However, the number of Americans who own digital reading devices has jumped to 50% as of January 2014.

The Pew Research Center’s survey of reading habits at the beginning of this year revealed several interesting insights.

88% of college graduates read at least one book in 2013, but that means 12% - or 1 in 8.5 college grads, didn’t read a single book in an entire year.  What’s wrong with that picture?  Overall, 24% of Americans 18 or older didn’t read a book in 2013.  31% of men, almost one in three, did not read a single book in one year.

We think older people love to read but 30% didn’t touch a book last year (those 65+).  Based on income, the likeliest reader come from those earning $50,000 to $75,000, where 85% read at least one book.  Surprisingly, 81% of blacks, 76% of whites, and 67% of Hispanics read a book last year.

Women read ebooks more than men, and blacks read ebooks twice as often as Hispanics.  College students read ebooks at more than three times the rate of those with no more than a high school diploma.  Of those earning below $30,000 in salary – 14% read an ebook vs. 46% of those earning over $75,000.

So do those stats change whom you write for – or whom you sell to?

Just write a great book and market the heck out of it – but know that chunks of various groups – older, under-educated, white, poor people – are tuning out books.  The marketplace has to find a way to get books in their hands, into those who didn’t read, let alone buy, a book in 2013.  The nation may have a literary gap, but it has the tools to narrow the gap.
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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