Mark Terry

Friday, January 21, 2011

SinC Survey Results

January 21, 2011
Sisters in Crime did a major study on book buying habits, which I finally got around to reading. You can read it yourself here. I recommend it, in a morbid sort of way.

One of the more interesting areas to me was finding how little things like author websites, newsletters, blogs, and tweets influenced book buying habits. Yes--how little!

Of only “moderate influence” among buyers are bookstore newsletters, bookseller

recommendations, librarian recommendations, mystery catalogs, newspaper and

magazine advertisements, author webpages, posters in stores and libraries and billboards

and hearing the author has won an award.

“Low influence” factors include author blogs, author mailings, publisher websites,

Facebook, banner ads on websites, online communities such as DorothyL and following an

author on Twitter


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

I glanced over that report, which is enough for the moment since I just ate. Not much positive there for authors who aren't from the major publishers. Most of the important factors involve lots of books being out there on shelves. Big surprise. I mean a lot of the factors involved such as liking an author or liking a series can't happen until the reader finds out about the author or series so they are somewhat meaningless. Although Internet publicity efforts may not be very effective, when you consider the factors listed as being effective, which of them are really under your control if you are not from one of the big publishers? Not many, if any, that I can see. So I guess the moral is do what you can but maybe don't get too carried away and loses actual writing time over it.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

That is an interesting study -- although they do seem to see some distinctions between mystery readers and general readers that do not appear to be very significant to me.

It does appear to me that I am not a typical book buyer/book reader. I rarely shop in a physical bookstore. Most new book purchases I have made over the past few years has been from -- and most of the rest have been from other online sources).

I'm not much into purchasing "previously read" books except at library sales -- but, after all, I am vice president of the local Friends of the library and an organizer of our twice-a-year fund-raising sale so I do usually end up buying a stack of books a couple of times each year.

I do use our local library as a source of reading material, especially as a way to find new authors -- and have gone on to purchase many books by authors whom I have first discovered in the library.

The Internet has become an important source of information about new (or, rather, new to me) authors -- and this does include author websites. I was a regular reader of John Scalzi's website before he wrote Old Man's War. I'm not sure how I first came upon your blog (but I think it was via Eric Mayer). Come to think of it, I think I first found Eric's site, because he frequently comments on another site I read. And so on... I can think of at least half a dozen authors whose books I bought and read after discovering their websites.

However, I think I have found a number of writers because they (or their latest books) have been mentioned on someone else's blog.

I just looked up my Amazon account history, grabbed a calculator, and figure that I spent $356.85 on books for myself at Amazon during 2010. (I tried to skip books purchased as gifts and books ordered by my wife.) Actually, that number seemed a bit on the low side, but as near as I could tell while scrolling down the list, there were only two hardcovers (The Fallen and volume 1 of Patterson's Heinlein biography) and the rest were mass market and trade paperbacks thus keeping the total more reasonable. (Also, we have Amazon Prime so there is no shipping charge.)

(By the way, I am fascinated by your series of entries on publishing contracts.)

11:06 AM  

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