Recently ebook industry insider Marie Force conducted a survey of 3000 readers asking carefully targeted questions about their practices and preferences. Widely reported in the media, it is the most extensive such survey so far in the age of digital publishing and it offers much food for thought.
Some of the findings were shocking, some amusing, some counter-intuitive, some disturbing. No one who writes or wants to write erotic romance or erotica should fail to read the findings.
For those who may have missed it, WriteSex has summarized the findings. To make their significance more apparent, we have arranged the answers by percentages.
eBooks Versus Print
77 percent preferred ebooks
Where Readers Buy Books
80 percent buy their books from Amazon
23 percent Barnes & Noble
13 percent iBookstore
58 percent of have not visited a brick and mortar bookstore in the last year
75 percent visit less than once a month
Romance Biggest Genre
81 percent of those surveyed listed romance as their favorite genre
5 percent chose mystery
Importance of Publisher
64 percent say it doesn’t matter who publishes a book
33 percent say it sometimes influences them
4 percent say the publisher’s name influences their decision to buy
68 percent are reluctant to buy a self-published book from an author who is unknown to them.
Where Readers Learn about Books
18 percent, Facebook
17 percent retail sites Amazon, B&N, etc.
13 percent Goodreads
10 percent author websites
Where Readers Learn About Favorite Author Books
63 percent author websites
62 percent Facebook
36 percent author newsletters
27 percent Goodreads
19 percent Twitter
18 percent retail sites
What Reviews Sources Influence Readers
50 percent choose books based on reviews posted to retail sites
16 percent based their decisions on Goodreads reviews
13 percent were influenced by blog reviews
10 percent were influenced by publication reviews (RT Book Reviews, Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, etc.)
Publications that Influence the Decision to Purchase a Book
76 percent said none
13 percent said RT Book Reviews
Influence of Starred Ratings
43 percent will not buy a book with a low rating – unless they hear something good about it
38 percent will try a book if they like the cover and sample, despite a low rating
11 percent responded that starred reviews do not influence them
9 percent choose based on stared reviews and will only purchase books with high ratings
85 percent were more likely to buy another book from the author if they liked a free book
35 percent have been discovered new authors via free books more than 20 times.
21 percent have found new authors through free books more than 10 times.
What Readers Like in a Story
75 percent of readers chose all these qualities:
outstanding characters, setting, storytelling and
33-three percent said typos don’t bother them
27 percent said they’d give an author a second chance if there were lots of typos in the first
24 percent said typos ruin their reading experience
8 percent said they would never buy another book from an author whose book was full of mistakes
72% said the presence of banners like NY Times bestseller do not influence them
60 percent of those surveyed never look at a bestseller lists
28 percent said such banners do influence them
84 percent subscribe to the newsletters of their favorite authors,
5 percent subscribe to the blogs of their favorite authors.
50 percent subscribe to BookBub to find out about free and reduced-price books
31 percent subscribe to Kindle Fire Department.
60 percent of those surveyed do not follow their favorite authors on Twitter whereas
87 percent of those surveyed do follow their favorite authors on Facebook.
85 percent of those surveyed do not follow their favorite authors on Pinterest, and
86 percent do not look for authors on any other social media platform besides those already listed
Pricing and Length
52 percent said if they want a book badly they don’t care what it costs.
22 percent said they will not pay more than $4.99 for a book.
68 percent are looking for novellas (20-25,000 words) in the $0.99 to $1.99 range
21 percent said they would pay up to $2.99 for a novella
26 percent said they would pay $4.99 for a full-length novel
19 percent said they would pay $5.99 for a novel
13 percent said $7.99
12 percent said $6.99.
Bonus Material (interviews, short stories)
34 percent won’t pay extra for a book with bonus material
26 percent will pay extra for “bonus” material, such as a short story
Favorite Author Endorsement
60 percent say author blurbs or endorsements do not influence what they buy
40 percent say an endorsement by a favorite author does influence what they buy
70 percent replied that they do not buy audio books
15 percent had bought audio books via Audible
11 percent at Amazon
7 percent iTunes
Of those Who Buy Audio Books…
18 percent bought between one and 10 audio books per year
4 percent bought more than 20 audio books in the last year.
54 percent of those surveyed have never watched a video trailer for a book
8 percent have bought a book because of a trailer
53 percent are influenced by a well-designed, attractive book cover
32 percent are not influenced by covers