Give the Gift of Book Discovery this Holiday Season


I recently happened upon an interesting survey of nearly 3,000 readers conducted by author Marie Force from June 1 – June 30, 2013. Here were some of the more interesting (and valuable) findings:

  • Readers prefer e-books to paperbacks (77 to 52 percent). However, the question allowed readers to choose all formats that apply, and there appears to be crossover between the two most popular formats, indicating some readers buy books in multiple formats when the paperback is available.
  • 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.
  • Nearly 58 percent of those surveyed have not visited a brick and mortar bookstore in the last year or have done so twice in the last year. Twenty-five percent visit a bookstore once a month and twenty percent are there twice a month or more.
  • 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.

As I went through the 44 question survey in detail, I couldn’t help but recognize that several opportunities were missed in this effort, most likely due to the overall intent of the survey. As I have mentioned before, when executing a plan, INTENT is EVERYTHING. I believe Marie intended to gain some basic knowledge into reader preferences, but her survey was not specifically built to answer some of the biggest questions in book discoverability such as the following:

  • How do different age brackets, sexes, nationalities discover books today? What are the differences and similarities?
  • What are the differences and similarities in how writers and readers discover books today?
  • How often do readers recommend books and by which channels?
  • How did they discover their most recent read?
  • What are the biggest influencers on their future book buying behavior?
  • To what extent do readers actually read the free books they download?

With that in mind, I endeavored to create a survey that would fill in these missing blanks in the hope that when we look at both data sets we have a more complete picture not only of reader preferences but of how readers discover books today and in the future. To that end, I need your help spreading the word about the first annual Book Discovery Survey.

This is a 25 question survey specifically built to provide insight into the questions above and also validate some of the findings of the previous survey. We do need to reach a good sample size and for that I need every author’s assistance in getting the word out. My publishing company is giving away 5 free ebooks and entering in each survey taker in a drawing for a $150 Amazon giftcard just for giving 5 minutes of their time.

Here are the questions divided into 4 Sections (special shout out to the good folks in the Alliance of Independent Authors FB group who helped craft this – most especially Dan Halloway, Joanna Penn, Sarah Ettritch, Karen Inglis, Diane Capri, Claire Weiner, and Averill Buchanan)

Section I: Demographics

  1. Please enter your country
  2. What is your age group?
  3. With what gender do you identify?
  4. How did you come across this survey
  5. Are you also a writer as well as a reader?

Section II: Reading Habits

  1. How many books do you read a month?
  2. Which of these would make you not buy/stop reading a book, from 1 being most likely to 7 least likely
  3. What is your preferred format for reading?
  4. How has your reading format preference changed with the advent of ereaders, smartphones, and tablets (like the iPad)?
  5. If you read ebooks, what is your preferred reading platform?
  6. Where did you buy the majority of your books in 2013?
  7. How many free ebooks did you download in 2013?
  8. What percent of the free ebooks that you downloaded in 2013 did you finish?
  9. Rank the following entertainment options from your most preferred (1) to your least preferred (5)

Part III: Current Book Discovery

  1. Please name the last book you finished or the book you are currently reading
  2. In what category would you classify this book?
  3. In what genre would you categorize this book?
  4. How did you discover this book?
  5. How much did the book cost?
  6. How well reviewed was this book?
  7. How long did it take you to finish reading this book?
  8. Did you recommend the book to anyone upon completion?
  9. How did you recommend it?

Part IV: Future Book Discovery

  1. Please rank the following factors in terms of most to least influential on your future book purchasing habits (1 is most influential and 13 is least influential)
  2. Please rank the following sources at it relates to most trusted for book recommendations to least trusted (1 is most trusted and 11 is least trusted)

If you believe the answers to these questions will add value to your efforts to be discovered by more of the right readers, please send out the message below via e-mail, FB, or any other channel you see fit:

Hi, Do you like Free-eBooks? Do you like giftcards? Well, if you take about 5 minutes and complete this survey on how you discovered books in 2013, you will receive 5 FREE ebooks and be registered to win a $150 Amazon giftcard … so provide your feedback, opt-in, and get ready to receive!

And here is a tweet that can be shared as well: #Bookworms win #5booksin5minutes! Take this survey!

I really appreciate your support in advance and look forward to great things from you in 2014 and beyond. I will report back with the findings as soon as we reach a good comparable sample, say 1500 to 2000 readers.

Happy Holidays!

Part owner of Independent Publishing Venture, The Pantheon Collective. Award-winning, bestselling author of One Blood (under pseudonym Qwantu Amaru). Book marketing expert and social media marketing consultant.

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Posted in Book Discovery, discoverability
One comment on “Give the Gift of Book Discovery this Holiday Season
  1. […] through the current state of author and book discovery (circa mid 2014). Some of you may recall a blog I posted in late 2013, announcing the first Book Discovery survey. The questionnaire was drafted by myself […]

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