Demographics of Book Buying

The latest figures from the US Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract indicate that the average consumer unit spends $126 annually on reading material. This represents a steady decline from 1995 when the amount spent was $165 annually. Who is most likely to purchase books and how should publishers target this demographic? The results of a recent Harris Interactive poll sheds light on who is most likely to purchase more than 10 books a year:

  • Ages 18–31 37%
  • 32–43 30%
  • 44–62 24%
  • 63+ 31%
  • Men 22%
  • Women 32%

Most popular genres of nonfiction (percentage of consumers who have read at least one book a year in the genre):

  • History 35%
  • Biography 31%
  • Religious/​Spirituality 28%

Most popular genres of fiction (percentage of consumers who have read at least one book a year in the genre):

  • Mystery/​Thriller/​Crime 48%
  • Literature 27%
  • Science Fiction 25%

Share this data with your publishing clients as you develop marketing campaigns to sell more books.


Harris Interactive Poll #37, April 2008

US Census Bureau Statistical Abstract, 2008, Table 1205

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.