Bookstores May Market More Author Events to Attract Teen Buyers

Contrary to popular opinion, young people continue to read books. The findings of a recently released TeenReads​.com study indicate that about 1 in 3 teens purchased between 3 and 5 new 1061011_read_them_1books in the past 6 months. Another 20% of these young readers bought only 1 or 2 books in the same time period while 20% buys at a much higher rate – 6–10 books. How can book publishers reach this market and establish loyalty and buying patterns to create lifelong customers? The TeenReads survey sheds some light on that topic as well.

Here’s what prompts an under-​age-​18 consumer to purchase a book:

  • Descriptive copy on dust jacket 86%
  • Cover 76%
  • Familiar with the author’s previous work 89%
  • Looking for a book in a series 78%

But other influencers are also at work in the teen market and these include:

  • Friends’ book recommendations 83%
  • Browsing in bookstores 83%
  • Web sites 78%
  • Reading reviews in magazines/​newspapers 64%
  • Family members 52%
  • Teachers 47%

Like older consumers, teen purchase their reading material through a variety of channels. Here’s where teens prefer to purchase books:

  • Chain bookstores 78%
  • Local bookstores 45%
  • Online retailers 44%
  • Library book sales 36%
  • Big box stores 33%

These young readers have definite opinions about what would prompt them to make more visits to a bookstore. Factors include better selection of books (63%), more book reviews (48%), hosted author events (45%), and comfortable sitting places (40%).

More bookstores may increase their marketing efforts to lure young readers at a time when so many other forms of entertainment compete for their attention.

[Source: A Closer Look at Teen Reading Preferences and Habits, Teen Reads​.com, Fall 2009, printed in Youth Market Alerts, EPM Communications] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.