Writing and Publishing

Half of Avid Book Readers Prefer Print

Readers who purchase many books each year evenly divide on print versus digital

In 2012, Book Business magazine, reporting on a Verso Advertising study, noted that 49.7 percent of avid readers refuse to go paperless. They define avid book readers as those who purchase more than ten books per year. Notice they use the word purchase and don’t say those who read ten or more books. I certainly read more than ten books annually, but I’m not sure if I buy ten.

Perhaps even more significant, this is an increase from 40 percent in 2009. Does this signal a digital backlash among power readers?

Interestingly, only 2.1 percent of regular readers oppose using e-readers.

So while many readers embrace going paperless, the avid readers—those who account for most of the books bought—are evenly divided on this issue. Deciding to publish only in e-book format effectively eliminates half of the most dedicated book buyers from purchasing your book.

But that was then. What about now?

I searched for studies that are more current and couldn’t find any that parallels this one. Okay, I spent a couple of minutes looking. There must be some out there—somewhere.

What I do know is that I hear less hype and less enthusiasm for e-books now than I did four years ago. From a personal reader perspective, I currently read more printed books than e-books, whereas four years ago I did the opposite. As a book buyer, however, my preference has always been towards purchasing print books; I have never bought many e-books.

Of course, my personal perceptions mean little when it comes to formulating a publishing strategy, but I think it is safe to say, don’t ignore print.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s book: Successful Author FAQs: Discover the Art of Writing, the Business of Publishing, and the Joy of Wielding Words. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book Successful Author FAQs for insider tips and insights.




By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.