RWA commissions an annual study of the U.S. romance publishing industry
and romance readers. The 2011 information was just published in the
November 2012 Romance Writers Report magazine.
Industry sales information for 2011 is from Simba Information, Bowker Monthly Tracker and AAP:
- 2011 U.S. romance fiction revenue: $1.37 billion; 14.3% of consumer book market.
- Simba estimates that for 2012, the overall U.S. consumer book market will decrease by 3.7%, and the romance category will decrease to $1.34 billion (but be up to 14.5% of overall market).
- Ebook sales of romances were 44% of total units in first quarter 2012 (compared to 26% ebook sales in total book market); mass market accounted for 29%; trade paperback 17%
(Of course, I'm always a bit leery of statistics when they don't tell me all the details of the study--like how many people polled, how selected, the demographics, etc.)
- 91% of romance buyers are women
- about half of romance buyers are between the ages of 30 - 54
- 31% of romance buyers consider themselves "avid" readers; 44% consider themselves "frequent" readers
- Have been reading romance for more than twenty years: 57% of avid readers, 43% of frequent readers, 41% of occasional readers
- Element enjoyed most about romance novels: happy ending
- 94% of romance readers have read ebooks (either purchased or free)
- Top overall reason a romance buyer selects a book to purchase: likes the author (45%)
- "Very influential" reasons for selecting a romance to buy: enjoyed author's previous book, book is part of a series, book description, recommendation from trusted source.
- Not influential: promo items (postcards, trading cards, notepads, pens, calendars, bookmarks, etc)
- Online elements that influence purchase decision: online bookseller websites, reading about it/seeing it online, seeing it on a bestseller list, author website, seeing it discussed on Amazon
- How readers become aware of romance books (does not imply purchased -- just knew about a book): in-store display, read an excerpt online, recommendation from friend/relative, author's website, teaser chapter in other print book they were reading, online retailer recommendation on retailer site
What do you find the most surprising or significant information from this study?