Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Consumer Survey - Prompted by Super Librarian

Wendy, the Super Librarian wrote up a post specifically asking the question "What are the book buying habits of other readers?" She goes on to specifically list her buying habits and encourages others to answer the question too.

I am definitely not the typical reader. I read about 150 - 180 books a year. Most people only read 1 - 10 books a year. That is quite a bit of difference between the two. So far this year I have read a total of 129 books.

Being the super statistics queen that I am, I keep a spreadsheet of all the books I read along with a few key notes such as genre, rating, etc. I haven't ever kept track of where my books come from in the past, but I wondered if I could go back and list this data.

Sure enough, I was able to piece the puzzle together to get an accurate idea of what percentage of books I buy new vs used. Keep in mind that these are only the books that I have READ this year. I have a huge pile of books WAITING to be read that are not included in these numbers. However, I do feel that graph below is fairly telling in how I acquire my books.

Here I have divided my books into five different groupings:

NEW 15% - These are books that I purchased new including ebooks, hardbacks, paperbacks and trade-size paperbacks. I know off the top of my head that I bought three hardback books this year - Burn by Linda Howard, Lover Revhenged by J. R. Ward and Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning.

USED 16% - These are books that I either bought used from a bookstore, or traded through paperbackswap.

LIBRARY 33% - These are books I get from the library

PAPERSPINE 18% - Paperspine is a book rental service, sort of like what Netflix is to movies. I pay $14.99 a month and they send me three books at a time.

FREE/ARC 18% - These are books that I get for free. The majority of these books are those that I got this past spring from the RT convention. I also receive some books from publicists and occasionally from authors themselves requesting reviews. I also have a friend who works for Barnes and Noble and she sends me books called "strips". These are books that have the cover torn off. I have no idea why anyone would deface a book, but it just goes to show that I'll read anything.

I am not surprised that the library is my highest category. My local librarians know me by name and face. However, I am surprised at how high the percentage is for books that I get for free. If you would have asked me to guess, I would have said maybe 5%. Same with books that I buy new. I don't feel like I buy that many new books, but I guess it adds up.


Maija P. said...

I love statistics! Nice info! Maybe I should do mine... but perhaps not. I buy most of my books, so it's better not to see the real truth about my spending. Luckily lately I've started to loan books from a relatively new friend who likes romance also. And this year I've even been to the library a couple of times (English paperbacks, especially romance books, are quite hard to obtain, there's only a small amount of them here in Finland).

KarLynP said...

Great post. I too read about 150-200 romances novels per year, but my stats are very different. Glancing at my list, I've read 150 so far this year, and a little more than 2/3rds I bought new. Ouch! I never realized how much this is costing me! Many were audio downloads, some ebooks and the rest paper. I never use the library, which is insane. I donate books, but never borrow them. But I started using paperbackswap a few months back, which is great. So next year I hope to see a big drop in new purchases.

Jill D. said...

Maija - Yes those book purchases do add up. I didn't think I bought that many books and then low and behold, I find out that I buy more than I think I do. Yikes!

KarLyn - Paperbackswap is great for getting older books that are out of print. I like to use my library for hardback books, but the drawback is there is usually a wait for popular authors like Linda Howard and Kelley Armstrong. But since I have so many books in my TBR, it usually doesn't bother me too much.

And wow, 150 books already?! That is just awesome!

nath said...

LOL, so cool that you keep track!! :) I have difficulty keeping my list of books owned and books read up-to-date... Not adding another column, LOL :)

I didn't realize so many of your books came from the library! :D So how does Paperspine work? I mean, for shipping?

Jill D. said...

Nath, I didn't actually keep track except for paperspine. But I was able to recall a lot because all transactions are recorded on paperbackswap so I could go back and look.

I am surprised with you working in science that you aren't more into your book statistics, LOL! I am a total numbers dork, myself :)

I just pay $15 a month with paperspine. I don't have to pay for shipping. They send me pre-paid envelopes to put the books in. So far it's worked out well because I usually select trade size paperbacks, which are more expensive.

nath said...

That's really a great deal, Jill :D Lucky you :D

Ah you know, I'm in biology... I'm more gels and PCR than numbers ;P

Christine said...

Interesting stats. A few years ago, I would have said I bought 90% of my books NEW and were given the other 10% from friends as either gifts or hand-me-downs. This year, though, I would wager a higher percentage come from the library and or used book sales. Maybe I'll keep track of my sources for 2010. :)

Jill D. said...

Nath - I was just giving you a hard time :)

Christine - Yeah, you should keep track. I'd be curious to see the numbers, of course I am a dork like that!