Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Survey Results from Those ISBN Folks…

ISBN? That’s the International Standard Book Number and the folks at Bowker supply those handy bar codes.

The Survey, Essential Facts, was tabulated for the year 2009 and I feel most of the results are still close to the same, within a few percentage points; but, with the changes in publishing that are swirling around, they may not remain the same for long.

The full survey (which is at the link up there that says Essential Facts) has many more numbers then what I’ve put in this post. I chose what I thought my readers would like to know but I encourage you to look at the whole survey:

43% of Americans ages 13+ bought a book

The average age of a book buyer was 42

58% of book buyers were female

64% of the books purchased were by females

30% of books purchased were by Baby Boomers

66% of Fiction books purchased were by women

50% of the dollars spent on Fantasy books were by men

3 out of 10 Fiction purchases were either Romance or Espionage/Thriller

59% of books purchased were Paperback

15% of books purchased were ‘as a gift’

20% of books purchased were through E-Commerce

13% of books purchased were because of the author’s name

What do you think of those numbers??
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10 responses to “Survey Results from Those ISBN Folks…

  1. Simone Benedict May 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I’m surprised over some of the numbers. It’s good information to know, tho.


  2. Simone Benedict May 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    LOL, I just noticed your blogroll. That’s very cool how you gave a description for each blog. I like it!


    • Alexander M Zoltai May 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm

      Yeah :-) I really like all the options on WordPress…

      I actually haven’t added descriptions to all the links on the Blogroll. See, I have the “top-list”, with *s in front and the “regular-I-like” list. I takes something more than me just liking a site to put it in the “top-list”


  3. Darcia Helle May 6, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Interesting numbers. I’m always intrigued by statistics, though I think they’re often not much better than made-up numbers. :)

    I have to wonder about the ‘gifts’ statistic. How would anyone know the reason for my book purchase? Amazon (and probably other online stores) does have the option to mark an item as a gift when you order. But I rarely use that option. I’m assuming they are getting their stats from something like that, which is far from the reality of how many books are purchased for gifts.

    I’m surprised at the claim that 20% of book purchases are done online. I would have expected that number to be much higher. Bookstores are shutting down, largely because of online stores like Amazon and even Barnes and Noble’s online store.

    Then, of course, there’s the statistic that no one is monitoring and that’s the number of books purchased directly from authors’ websites.


    • Alexander M Zoltai May 6, 2011 at 5:32 pm

      Wonderful, Darcia. Your responses are critical to an evaluation of stats like these.

      I agree about the Gifts stat.

      The online purchase number could be low because it was from 2009??

      Bingo on the non-tracked purchases from authors’ websites :-)


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