I came across some interesting research findings recently reported by romance author Marie Force. The survey was conducted during June 2013 and there were nearly 3,000 respondents. Considering she is a well-connected, self-published, romance writer it isn’t surprising that many of the responses skew to the romance genre. So putting those aside I identified 7 responses that are relevant for just about any author or small publisher.
Here’s my brief take on some key findings:
- Average readers shop in the big stores.
- Sorry, but no one marketing channel rules. You’ll need to spread out your efforts.
- Giving away your book for free builds awareness, especially if you have more than one book.
- Price lower, rather than higher.
- Readers don’t care about book trailers. Invest your money elsewhere.
Update, 2016: The following detail was pulled from a blog post on her website that has since been removed.
The question about where readers buy books could be answered multiple times. I note that Apple is about 13%, much less than BN’s, while Kobo is higher than I expected. Amazon’s nearly 79% is what we’d expect. (Q2)
- Kindle/Amazon: 78.55%
- Kobo: 7.08%
- Nook/B&N: 23.04%
- iBookstore/Apple: 12.88%
- Google Books: 1.93%
Readers are much more likely to discover books via Facebook than via Twitter, by a long shot. Readers here voted for their primary source of information about books. (Q9)
- Facebook: 18.16%
- Twitter: 3.80%
- Goodreads: 13.59%
- Author websites: 10.44%
- Author newsletters: 5.46%
- Retail sites: 16.71%
- Review sites: 10.71%
- Reader blogs: 5.66%
- Other: 15.49%
The argument that authors should give their book away to attract new reads seems to get a boost here. This is the number of times a reader tried a new book simply because it was free. (Q16)
- More than 20 times: 35.17%
- More than 15 times: 12.83%
- More than 10 times: 20.68%
- More than 5 times: 22.68%
- Never: 8.64%
The interesting follow-up question was how likely a reader would be to buy a book from an author after reading the first book for free. (Q17)
A whopping 85% said they are extremely likely to pay for the next book.
On the hot topic of price, readers remain frugal with 2/3 expecting to pay $5.99 or less for a novel of 80,000 words and up.(Q37) Here’s the breakout:
- 2.99: 6.49%
- 3.99: 14.24%
- 4.99: 25.87%
- 5.99: 19.18%
- 6.99: 10.36%
- 7.99: 12.90%
Book trailers are becoming popular but it is unclear whether readers care. (Q42) Here are the results from this survey:
- I always watch a book trailer if there is one: 6.07%
- I have bought books after watching a book trailer: 8.21%
- I watch book trailers but am just as likely not to buy the book: 8.78%
- Book trailers don't influence me one way or the other: 33.10%
- I've never watched book trailers as part of my purchase decision: 53.61%
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