Why Do You Buy a Book?

Let me ask that again. Why do you buy a book? Is the cover knock-your-socks-off amazing? Does the copy on the back tease you? Did your best friend from elementary school recommend it?

As I delve into this world of self-publishing, I find myself silently asking these questions to everyone I meet.

The drawback? They can’t hear me, so I never get the answers. This is where the wonderful people over at e-book Formatting Fairies step in. They asked the questions out loud. Or rather, they asked many questions about what people are reading, why they choose what they are reading and what influences them to buy what they are reading. Then they compiled the data for the rest of us.

The information was posted in August, 2013, so many of you might have already seen it. But good information is always worth sharing again.

Some numbers I found interesting:

  • Nearly 80 percent buy their books from Amazon, with Barnes & Noble scoring a distant second at 23 percent and iBookstore/Apple coming in third at nearly 13 percent.
  • Sixty-four percent of those surveyed say they pay “no attention” to who publishes a book and/or “it doesn’t matter” to them. Thirty three percent pay “some attention” to who the publisher is whereas 4 percent say the publisher’s seal of approval “matters” to them.
  •  43 percent will wait to purchase a book if they see “low” star ratings. Thirty-eight percent say they will still try a book if they like the cover and sample, even if it has “low” star reviews. Eleven percent responded that star reviews are not at all important to them and 9 percent rely heavily on star reviews and will only purchase a book that meets their star-rating criteria.
  • We asked if seeing the words “New York Times Bestselling Author” on the cover of a book is more likely to spur a reader to try a new author. Seventy-two percent said no, and 28 percent said yes.
  • In one of the more interesting results, 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.

You can read the original blog post here.

What about you? What’s the number one reason you buy a book? And what genre is it likely to be? Over 80% said romance was their genre of choice. Do you fall within those numbers, or are you more likely to leave the mainstream pack and read something else?


Published by casblomberg

Cas Blomberg is a native-English speaking writer who lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

2 thoughts on “Why Do You Buy a Book?

  1. I’m fairly picky about buying books as I am a heavy library user (plus husband and I are quickly running out of room on our six bookcases!). But if I’ve read something and loved it, I am likely to go out and purchase it for myself to re-read later. As far as books that I do buy, if I’m hooked by a series, I will usually end up purchasing the books and then buying subsequent books as they come out. If it’s an author I love, I will sometimes skip the library step and just buy the book for myself (like Neil Gaiman or Brandon Sanderson) because I can be fairly assured that I will enjoy their writing. And the remainder of my purchases are likely to come from a used book store (low cost = not too much loss if it isn’t what I expected), usually from perusing the science fiction and fantasy aisle.

    1. Six bookcases?! I would love the space for six bookcases =). I’d also love the ability to peruse a used book store again. They’re difficult to find here, and I wonder as the digital age continues to expand what will happen to libraries and bookstores in the future. I can only hope we remember their worth. Great taste in authors, thanks for stopping by!

Comments are closed.