What makes readers buy books?

Why do readers buy books?

It’s an ancient question with no definitive answer, but fortunately folks keep searching for one.

Maggie Lynch, author of numerous books and articles, has a roundup (Opinion: What Makes Readers Buy Books? | Alliance of Independent Authors: Self-Publishing Advice Center) of some of the latest research on the Alliance of Independent Authors website, and while most of it is common sense (readers buy books of subjects they like), some of it enlightening.

Here’s a list of reasons that was produced by the results of a large survey (2,697 participants) of  book buyers in Australia; the survey was conducted by Macquarie University for the Australia Council for the Arts:

1. The topic, subject, setting or style 89.7%
2. Read and enjoyed previous works by the author 77.9%
3. The book is available in the format I want 62.6%
4. Recommendation from a friend 59.7%
5. The price 44.9%
6. Reputation of the author 42.2%
7. Reader book reviews 25.4%
8. Type size 24.0%
9. People are talking about this book 23.1%
10. Professional book reviews 21.9%
11. Won or shortlisted for a prize 21.0%
12. Recommendation from a bookseller or librarian 20.5%
13. The length of the book 20.3%
14. Bestseller lists 18.6%
15. The jacket cover 18.4%
16. Promotional activity in the bookshop or library 7.9%
17. Recommendation by public figures and celebrities 7.3%
18. Cover endorsements 6.7%

What are some of the reasons you buy a book? Send me your list.

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About Jim Stovall

Jim Stovall, a retired journalism prof, is now a novelist, self publisher, watercolorist, gardener, woodworker and beekeeper -- among others things.

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