A recent article in the online publication Shelf Awareness, professional version, compiled some very interesting data and analysis on how people discover books. As you can imagine, how people go about deciding which books to read and buy has changed dramatically over the past ten years.
According to the article entitled “Lost and Found: Trends in Book Discovery,” two years ago 35% of all book discoveries were made in “brick-and-mortar” bookstores as opposed to only 17% this year. Shelf Awareness identifies this change in behavior as a result of the newfound significance of the e-book/e-reader in reading habits and the fall of Borders.
At the same time, however, the role of personal recommendations in helping people discover books appears to be growing and evolving. Whereas two years ago 14% of book discoveries came through personal interactions, this year that figure is up to 22%. Intriguingly, three-fourths of these personal recommendations still came from face to face interactions, as opposed to social media venues, like one might expect.
The article did not elaborate on the role of new websites such as “goodreads” in helping people discover books.
Peter Hildick-Smith, founder and president of the Codex group which organized the study, suggests this is a sign reading and book discovery have become a “hybrid world.”
Traditional forms of book discovery and more modern ones seem to be coexisting rather than competing.
In the end, it could be possible that everyone wins. With new methods of book discovery complementing older ones, readers have more ways than ever to find books which interest them easily and efficiently.
For more in-depth information, check out “Lost and Found: Trends in Book Discovery”: