Friday, May 30, 2008

Book and Book Buyer Statistics

From two recent articles, some very interesting figures. Wow, over 400,000 new books available in the U.S. in 2007.

U.S. Title Output for 2007:
Bowker, the global leader in bibliographic information management, today released statistics on U.S. book publishing for 2007, compiled from its Books In Print(r) database. Based on preliminary figures from U.S. publishers, Bowker is projecting that U.S. title output in 2007 increased slightly to 276,649 new titles and editions, up from the 274,416 that were published in 2006.

While traditional book publishing was basically flat last year, there was a staggering rise in the reported number of "On Demand" and short-run books to 134,773, pushing the grand total for projected 2007 U.S. book output to 411,422 books.

Book Buyer Statistics:
(Zogby does marketing research and public polling.)

From Publishers Marketplace: Profiles of a Book Buyer
Zogby International released results from a nationwide online survey of the reading and book-buying habits of over 8,000 representative adults, commissioned by Random House (which will publish a book with Zogby later this year). The overall portrait shows Americans as light readers and book purchasers (half buy fewer than 10 books a year; just 14 percent buy more than 20 a year for themselves) who are highly unlikely to buy an e-reading device (3 percent own one; 4 percent plan to buy); more influenced to buy a book by public radio (15 percent) than Jon Stewart (8 percent) who still rans above Oprah Winfrey (5 percent); light sellers of their books when finished with them (only 3 percent do so) and big online customers (more people buy often online, 43 percent, than anywhere else, including chains, at 32 percent) at Amazon in particular--which 66 percent named as online retailer they frequent (with the failed drawing an insignificant response).

The most-frequently named factor in making someone want to buy a book is suggestions from friends and family (60 percent), followed by book reviews (49 percent). Thirty-one percent of online shoppers "depend on online reviews for recommendations" (it's not clear if these are consumer reviews, though).

In contrast to some previous data, 38 percent of the respondents said that "very often" they go into a bookstore knowing what they're looking for while 43 percent said that's the case "somewhat often." Still, 77 percent said they will at least some times make additional unplanned book purchases when were looking for a specific title. The subject is what draws most browsers first (48 percent).

The single biggest factor in choosing books was the idea of making a special effort to look for other books by an author you have enjoyed, with 89 percent confirming this behavior. (Appealing to fans of a particular author within the book itself was one of the points we made in our BISG speech recently...) Store placement influenced selection 33 percent of the time; 52 percent said they have sometimes judged a book by its cover, and 35 percent have been influenced by an author endorsement.

And in a sensible conundrum, people are reading both less (30 percent said yes) and more (23 percent said yes) in the past year.

Of course that paradox raises an important point in looking at all of the information, interesting as it may be: It measures what people *think* they do, which isn't necessarily the same as what they actually do.

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