What Are People Reading?

The days of a man’s word being all you need to cement a deal are no longer—even among those who call themselves Christians. I am sure that you have experienced this.
You offer your book free to readers in exchange for a review. Rarely do all the readers who request the book actually follow through with a review.

Not Read

JellyBooks, a service that provides readers with free digital Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of new books in exchange for a review, report that only 50-55% of their books ever get opened. That means that less than half of the reviewers are actually reading and writing a review of the book.

Fortunately, BookCrash‘s (Christian Small Publishers Association‘s Books for Bloggers Review Program) review rate is higher than that. BookCrash sends mostly print books for review and tracks reviews. The service does not let bloggers request a new book to review until they have reviewed the one they already received.

Interestingly, this phenomena is not solely related to digital review copies. Kobo recently revealed that only 60% of ebooks that are purchased through their service are ever opened. That statistic does not count how many of those books are actually read all the way through. Interestingly, Kobo has also found that the more expensive a book was, the higher the likelihood that the buyer would at least start the book, although, Kobo did not share data on whether the book was more likely to be completed or not.

One of the interesting pieces of data shared by these two companies is that the decline in reader attention starts early, generally within the first 10-40% of the book. In other words, those that abandon a book do so in the first half, not the latter half.

While this data did not measure reading rates for print books, I think that the trend is much the same. How many of you have a book or two or three lying around your house that you purchased and have not yet read? I will wager many of you.

I think that authors can learn a few things from these statistics:

  1. Expect to send out more review copies of your book than you will actually receive reviews for.
  2. Strong beginnings are important in a book. They are especially important in fiction, but nonfiction books need strong beginnings with plenty of meat also.
  3. Just because you price your ebook low and get a number of sales does not mean that your book will actually be read and recommended to others.

What about you? Do you have books either on your e-reader or in your house that you have not yet read? I confess: I do—in both print and digital.

Related Posts:
Important Information for Christian Authors
Are Reviews Really Important?
Musings on BookCrash
Are Reviews Important?

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1 thought on “What Are People Reading?

  1. This is so me! I had a stack of print books but I’m getting close to the bottom of the pile. Some of them I’ve had almost a year. As for my e-books, I do a bit better. I was caught up a couple weeks ago but I’ve downloaded 5 this week so I’m behind already.

    As for finishing a book, that’s like a code of honor for me. It has to be really bad or become offensive for me to stop. I was reading one recently and was probably 2/3 finished when a couple new characters were introduced. They used offensive language so I put it down. It’s sad – it was a good book.


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