Friday, March 1, 2013

Stats and slowing down

Today, I have a duo of equally absorbing posts from different ends of the writing-world spectrum. In the business department, we have the results of a Goodreads survey with some reader statistics; in the quality-of-life department, a post about slowing down.

Survey Stats

Thanks to Jon Gibbs for linking to this article, an analysis by Goodreads of survey on how readers find and read some books. There are limits on interpreting these data: only two books, both quite well-known, are discussed. It would be interesting to see how readers discover books that aren't as widely buzzed-about. The results came from a survey of Goodreads readers--a specific and apparently self-selecting community. The survey was also designed to answer publishers' questions, some of which interest me more than others.

But, those disclaimers aside, there are some interesting items in there. Such as, the prominent place of "trusted friend" and "everyone talking about it" as big reasons for people to read a book. And the fact that 37% of their survey respondents read e-books on cell phones, which boggles my mind, since the last thing I ever look for is a smaller screen on which to read. (Obviously, these must be young people who have not yet begun the squinting, arm's-length reading, and "Why does print have to be so small?" travails of middle age.) Another "wow" is the role of libraries as the most popular place for respondents to get their books. The print/e-book percentage for those two books is also interesting (almost half-and-half for one book, with print retaining a slight edge; more like two-thirds print/one-third other formats for the other book).

Then there is the preferred-format question. The largest group, 45%, prefers to read print and e-books. 21% like both formats plus audiobooks. When people prefer only one format, here's how it breaks down: print 23%, e-book 9%, audiobook 1%. While I expect e-book adoption to continue to grow, so far these numbers support what I've always maintained: readers and authors are best served by books being available in a variety of formats. We should not hasten to push the e-book or the print book out of the marketplace.

Slowing Down

And now, for a change of pace. Julie Owsik Ackerman recently blogged: "... I also fill my days completely. Do I have five minutes before a friend arrives? I’ll put in a load of laundry and wash the dishes. Ten minutes before Daniel will likely wake? I’ll write a draft of an essay, check my email, and call the portrait studio about ordering those wallets. Yes, I’m efficient, but many days I feel harried and stressed. I hoped that by slowing my pace to a jog, I might enjoy life more ..." Follow the link to see her plan.


  1. Interesting stats. I'm also surprised about all those people reading on their cell phones. I'm still mainly a print book (although I've had a e-reader for 2 years).

    1. I don't think they necessarily read on their cell phones all the time, but at least occasionally.
      I still prefer print myself, but to each her own.

  2. I'm not sure I could read a book on a cell phone. *shudder*