Sunday, May 22, 2016


If you're writing your first book or your twentieth, writers are well advised to keep an eye on current book-buying trends. What's hot and what's not changes over time and so does the buyers' demographic. How readers discover titles can be crucial, as is what device they read on if you self-publish ebooks. Knowledge also helps the writer target appropriate publishers and potential readers who are buyers.
Booknet Canada is the best resource for Canadian authors and conducts consumer surveys every two years on this topic. If you live in another market, do a Google search to find an equivalent organization in your location.
Let's first look at the typical Canadian book buyer in 2015:
  • Female, in her mid-forties, and married
  • employed full-time
  • a college or university grad
  • a city dweller
  • she bought 2.8 books per month (print, e-books, audio)
  • and also borrowed more from her local library.

The top favourite categories readers bought in 2015 were 1) crime/thrillers, 2) fantasy/SciFi, 3) popular fiction, 4) cookery/food and wine, and 5) historical fiction. The the types of books purchased were 33% fiction, 33% nonfiction, and 33% YA, though Booknet remarked that many adults bought YA titles believing them to be for adults. 
Canadians prefer print books, and choose paperbacks over hardcover by a large margin. However, those buying electronic books (17% of the total), buy more titles per month than the print purchasers, probably due to the price differential.
While  online sales for all book formats increased by 16% since 2013  surpassing in-store sales for the first time, Canada still lags behind the US and UK. However, when asked for a preference, 52% of Canadians said they still like to buy books in-person at bricks and mortar stores.
Book buyers are also library patrons, visiting and borrowing books several times a month. They borrow all versions of books — 74% chose print, 11% chose electronic, and 6.4% chose audio books in 2015.
But it is discoverability that interests those of us who write books for publication, either with traditional publishers or ourselves. Where and how do Canadians find titles and authors they want to buy and read? The two most likely places are while browsing online or in-person in a store, and from a review or recommendation. The third way mentioned was by wanting to read more by a known author or a series they had tried before.  Booknet Canada will be releasing a report on discoverability that has much more detailed information for writers and authors. We should all read this.
Keep current by signing-up to BNC e-news at 
Ref: The Canadian Book Buyer 2015, a survey, Booknet Canada, October 2015. 
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