Sam over at The Book Chase turned me on to this poll that the folks over at Random House/Zogby conducted. I found it quite interesting. I won't talk about everything they covered on the poll...it was quite extensive, but I will highlight some of the areas I was most intrigued with.
Most people in the poll said they go to the bookstore with a specific purchase in mind but are tempted to buy other books once there - guilty! I don't frequent the big stores like Barnes and Nobel or Borders, but when I do go there, I'm going with a specific book in mind and almost always end up with more than I was going for. When I go to the Half-Price bookstore, I go with my list of books I already own and then just browse for a good long while, checking to make sure I'm not buying anything I already own. On occasion I look for something specific there, but I never go "needing" to be a specific book.
So, then they asked what motivates folks to buy a book while browsing in the bookstore. Most said "subject" was the most important. Followed by "author" and then "title." What makes people want to buy a book? Recommendations from friends or family members. I would have to say that authors will attract me to a book when I'm browsing - there are a bunch of authors that I will read whatever they write...if I recognize an author who has provided a blurb, I'll read the book jacket. That's always the deciding factor...if the book SOUNDS good to me, so I guess that would fall under the "subject" category, huh? Titles and cover art are of no importance to me. Recommendations from others I talk books with often leads me to check out new books, but I'm usually more inclined to borrow those from the library.
I liked the question about what book people would recommend to the next president if he called and couldn't sleep. To be honest with you, it would really depend on who is the next president. I can tell you that if the present president called ME and wanted a book recommendation, I'd probably be inclined to hang up on him...
Here were some bullet point stats they included:
Most said they typically read just one book at a time, but a sizable 40% said they usually are reading between two and four books at once. Another 3% said they generally read more than four books at one time.
While 19% said they borrow most of the books they read from the library, the vast majority of Americans (78%) said they own most of the books they read. And while 71% are quick to loan books to friends, just 32% said they are in the habit of borrowing books from friends.
Respondents were also asked to own up to their bad reading habits - 35% admit to folding over the pages, while 13% confess to sneaking a peek at the ending before finishing a book. Just 6% divulged that they have neglected to return a library book.
Two in three respondents (68%) said they typically read a book just once, but 18% said they usually go back for a second read and 10% generally read a book three times or more. Once a book has been read, most respondents said it goes back on their shelf at home (57%), but others are more likely part ways once they finish - 20% usually pass books on to a friend or family member, while 14% give them away and just 3% said they typically sell their books once their done reading them.
When respondents were asked what type of book would best represent their life, 20% said it would be humor, while 16% said satire and 13% said their life would be an inspirational book. The survey also shows respondents are more likely to purchase the most books for themselves than for family members or as gifts. On average, 39% of respondents said they purchase between one and five books per year for themselves, while 26% buy between six and 10, 14% between 11 and 15 - 22% buy 16 or more books per year for themselves. When it comes to purchasing books for family members, 51% said they buy one to five books per year, 23% six to 10 and 9% buy 11 to 15 - 18% buy 16 or more books per year for family members. Nearly three in four (73%) respondents said they typically purchase between one and five books per year as gifts, 19% buy six to 10 books as gifts and 4% buy 11 to 15 - just 4% said they buy 16 or more books as gifts per year.
I own a lot of my books, but I borrow a great deal from the library also. I tend to borrow far more audiobooks than I own. I usually have three books going at one time (one that I'm reading, one in the CD player of my car and one on my mp3 player - sometimes I have a fourth in my stereo in the house). I have to admit to being protective of my books. I only loan them out when I'm confident I will get them back...and in as good of condition as I loaned them out in. I'd rather buy someone their own copy than chance losing mine! I don't peak at the end of a book; I NEVER dog ear pages and I've always returned what I borrow from the library. I do, however, write in my books...some people view that as a bad habit. I re-read books that are worthy...and I save the ones I love. Others I will pass on to friends and family or take to a resale shop. (And yes, that misspelling was in the article - that wasn't me). I had to chuckle at the question about buying books...in just my last visit to Half-Price, I bought nine books. I probably buy between 6 and 10 each year for my niece and nephew...I buy books for my dad, my brother-in-law, and my sister for at least one occasion a year...I just can't imagine a better gift!
Very interesting...what would your responses have been?