Book Buying Survey Response

rinn reads badgeThe lovely, Rinn over at Rinn Reads, carried out a Book Buying Survey at the start of June and posted the results in the middle of July. I thought I’d share my thoughts as a response to her survey, she has a great infographic that lays out the data collected from 100 respondents, so you might want to check it out first before reading on…

1. Are you a blogger?

Obviously, I am a blogger (I think I’m beginning to feel comfortable calling myself one now, maybe). 87/100 respondents were also bloggers, and I think most of us have resigned ourselves to the fact that the majority of our audience are fellow bloggers. Is this different for you? Do you have a high non-blogger readership?

2. What book formats do you tend to buy most often?

hardback bookPaperbacks came in first at 78%, then eBooks (50%) and hardback (34%), with audiobooks bringing up the rear at just 5%. For this question, you could choose more than one answer. I considered this to mean books that I buy, and not eBooks I receive for review from authors or from NetGalley. However, I did consider eBooks that I’ve “purchased” for free on sites like Amazon, as they do go up in price when they’re no longer on offer. For me, the order is:

  1. Paperbacks
  2. eBooks
  3. Hardbacks

My paperback collection far outweighs the rest, and that’s mostly because of the great deals and offers I find on paperbacks in the UK. I rarely go out of my way to get my hands on a hardback edition, but since I’ve started blogging, I have to say the appeal of the hardback has increased. It just seems so much more tangible and collectible. It doesn’t help that I have a weak spot for eBooks with lovely covers that range from £0.00-£0.99p…

3. Do you buy most of your books brand new or second hand?

New books took the lead with 77%, and I was one of these respondents. I would buy more second hand books if I was able to nearby (and they were in good condition) but I don’t buy secondhand on-line because I can hunt out some pretty great deals on new books, and in many cases they are actually cheaper than their secondhand counterparts.

 4. Where do you tend to buy your books?

STS July 2014Online came in with a whopping 83%, then bookshop chains (58%), secondhand (34%) and sadly independent bookshops came in last with 27%. Again, you could choose more than one answer for this question. I do buy from The Book People online, but it is an independent retailer – so that caused me some confusion! I think this question definitely highlights the severity of the independent bookshop decline and clearly shows the monopoly that online retailers are gaining in the market. This is really tough though, because we all like a good deal and generally online stores are simply better at providing them. I would pay a little more to buy a book locally, but I can’t justify paying two or three times the price, which is often the case. I don’t really have a local independent store to support, but I do purchase in local bookshop chains, and I’d be pretty devastated if they were to shut down.

5. Do you read ARCs?

Bearing in mind 87 of the 100 respondents were bloggers, only 74 answered that they read ARCs. This surprised me a little, as I just assumed all book bloggers read ARCs of some description. I do read ARCs, and used to read more when I first started blogging, but my backlist got a little out of control, so I try to be more selective now when choosing ARCs to review.

6. If you read ARCs, do you tend to buy a finished copy of the book if you really enjoyed it?

Yes – 33%, no – 41%, don’t read ARCs – 26%. I actually haven’t done this yet, but I intend to (Boys Like You by Juliana Stone). I doubt I’d buy a physical copy if I owned the physical ARC. I’m curious – does the finished copy ever really change THAT much compared to the ARC?? If I read the ARC as an eBook and loved it, then I’d want a physical copy on my shelf to reread. As far as I know publishers write these sales off anyways, so any additional sales are a bonus.

7. Do you tend to buy several books at once, or just one at a time?

26 people responded with one at a time! How?! Tell me your secrets?! I rarely buy one book at a time, so I fall in with the other 74%. I can’t remember the last time I did. I’ll take advantage of a 3 for 2, or add books to my basket so I’m over the minimum spend for free shipping. I can go for 6 weeks or so without buying books at all, and then I’ll have a small splurge… 🙂

Reading more than one book at a time

8. What normally encourages you to buy a book?

Responses to choose from included: a book that is by a favourite author or part of a favourite series (88%), reviews online/on blogs  (77%), recommendations from friends (61%), anticipated release (61%), the blurb (57%), the cover (56%), the genre (48%), impulse buy (28%), reviews in professional publications (13%). This was a multi-choice question. Personally, I have some auto-buy authors and series that I’m collecting – so they are no-brainers. Reviews from fellow bloggers will definitely persuade me to check out a book, especially if it’s a blogger I know well and share similar tastes with. I hadn’t anticipated any new releases for a long time (since Harry Potter days) before I started blogging, but now I am more aware of them, and do keep an eye out for a few favourites. The blurb of a book has tipped me over the edge or piqued my curiosity in the past and over 50% of respondents judge books by their cover, including me, which I don’t think is a positive or a negative – it’s just in our nature. Generally, the cover and the blurb is all I can go on when selecting which Book Tours/Blitz I want to participate in – a separate post on that shortly. I did find it interesting to note that so many of us disregard professional reviews, myself included!

9. Do you have a favourite publisher, or publishers , that you prefer to buy from?

The breakdown of responses was – 28% yes, 19% no and 58% for the publisher makes no difference. For this question I selected “the publisher makes no difference”. While there are some publishing houses I’m aware of/a fan of, who I know generally publish books I like, it isn’t really something I look for when buying.

10. Do you ever pre-order books?

I was in the 65% who pre-order if they’re anticipating the release. Surprisingly, 34% said no! I don’t pre-order a lot, but it has been known to happen from time to time when I’m particularly excited about a book, and usually when it’s a series finale!

Did you take Rinn’s Survey? Even if you didn’t, what would your responses have been? Are you surprised by any of the results?

About Rachel

Avid reader & #bookblogger. Lover of all things business. A fan of drinks & dancing. Ever optimistic. Feminist.

8 Responses

  1. Thanks for responding in more detail! 🙂

    And yep, I meant books that were actually bought, rather than galley copies or something like that. Hopefully most people read it that way.

    I would personally just count the Book People as online, as that’s mostly how they operate and it doesn’t seem independent to me – it’s quite a big company!


      1. I’m a BIG library user, so I don’t buy the same way as other book bloggers. Or maybe I’m just cheap. I almost never buy a new book that I’m not SURE I’ll love, so I buy hardback, if I can. Secondhand is a hodgepodge.


  2. The pre-order one definitely surprised me. I would have thought that the percentage would have been much higher! I do pre-order books when I’m really looking forward to reading them, especially during the school year when I know I probably won’t have time to go out that day and buy it. Cool survey! 🙂


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