On a + note

#31 2010, What do we really know about readers?

Posted in on a + note by kendal0 on September 13, 2010

What do we really know about readers and their habits in 2010? After all, these are the folks who we serve everyday and rely on us for information and entertainment 24/7/365. What do we, in library land, know about their preferences, selection criteria, and reading habits?

Research from the book industry tells us:

  • 45% of North Americans read a book last year.
  • 58% of readers are women.
  • 80% of U.S. families did not read a book last year.
  • 57% of new books are not read to completion.
  • 70% of the books published do not make a profit.
  • More than 120,000 books are published annually in the U.S. A successful fiction title sells more than 5,000 copies, and successful nonfiction book sells more than 7,500 copies.
  • More than 3 billion books are sold annually.
  • The average adult spends 5.2 hours reading per week, 15 hours online, and 13 hours watching television.
  • Public library usage increased 2-8% during the last 24 months.

What’s popular?

  • 53% of readers read fiction. Mystery and suspense are the most popular genres and are read by more than 20% of readers. Who buys all of those Stephen King and Nora Roberts mysteries? Mostly women (55%).
  • 43% of readers read nonfiction. Who is reading all of those biographies, cookbooks, and business and self-help books? Mostly women (54%).

· The five bestselling books ever…..

Title Author Copies sold
5 The McGuffey Reader William McGuffey 60,000,000
4 The Guinness Book of Records 81,000,000
3 American Spelling Book Noah Webster 100,000,000
2 Quotations from the Works of Mao Tse-tung Mao Tse-tung 800,000,000
1 The Bible 5,000,000,000 +

I was surprised by most of the statistics, but in some strange librarian way, I was excited to know more about our readers! Have a great week.

Kitty Pope
kpope @ alliancelibrarysystem.com #31 September /10

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