Monday, October 1, 2018

A Survey of Readers

This summer I was one of more than 2,000 persons who again participated in a survey of readers conducted by M. K. Tod, an author and blogger at She's been conducting these surveys since 2012.
The results provide a few surprises which may be of interest to other writers/readers.
First, I should note, participants came from around the globe, were of varying ages and more than half read more than 30 books in a year. Not surprisingly, a majority of the participants were female. Women do tend to read more than men.
It pleased me to learn 75 percent of the participants prefer print books, frequently or exclusively using that format. I have nothing against electronic formats. I do find them convenient, especially for travel, and do utilize my Kindle on a fairly regular basis. But, despite all the hype, I don't believe they are monopolizing the reading world. At least, not yet.
Entertainment was cited as the primary reason for reading fiction, and readers like to feel immersed in the story. Seventy-one percent of men vs. 88 percent of women read fiction more than 50 percent of the time. As to genre, the favored categories in order were: mystery/thrillers, romance, historical fiction, women's fiction, and literary. Yay, mysteries!
Again, not surprisingly, genre interest varies with age. For mystery, interest increases with age, while interest in fantasy, science fiction and horror seems to decrease with age. Here are two other factors I found fascinating: interest in the romance genre peaks between the ages of 30 and 50. Literary fiction is less popular in the U.S. than in other parts of the world.
Since some of my stories are classed as historical fiction, I was pleased to see the 19th century as the second most favored period.
As to non-fiction, the most popular genres were history, biography and memoirs.
The majority of those surveyed (78 percent) said they read whenever opportunity permits. Bedtime reading, followed by vacation-time, were other high percentages. More men than women read on the way to or from work. Most people read solo, though the more books a person reads in a year, the more likely they are to join a book club.
(I'll be doing a follow up on this blog, focusing more on topics of specific interest to writers).