Thursday, June 6, 2013

Retweet: Nielsen report confirms that book buying public remains skewed towards female for both print and digital

AdWeek's Lucia Moses yesterday posted her story about the recently released Nielsen U.S. Consumer Entertainment Report which was definitely a good thing as the research had slipped past me (thank you). You can either read her report, that also includes reformatted charts, or the original report which comes as a PDF download.

Much of the report centers on music and other forms of entertainment not of concern for TNM, but it does contains some basic information on book buying habits by gender and race that may be of interest.

As you can see by the chart at right, females tend to be book buyers a bit more than males, which is no news – but the study shows that it really doesn't matter whether we are talking print or digital.

What is missing here, though, is information one the reading device used and the form the book takes. For instance, we know that more females own Kindles than males – 57 percent of Kindle owners are female according to ComScore (from August 2012), while iPad owners tend to me younger. Also, Kindle owners tend to me less affluent than iPad owners.

Can we conclude anything from this? Not with any great level of confidence, but one might imply that a publisher wishing to reach younger males would be good to publish and interactive eBook for the iPad rather than a plain text version for the Kindle. (But I wouldn't bet the farm on it).

Another question to consider is whether the Nielsen report considered eBook apps as books, or whether this new category of books was not measured. It is possible that something produced by Joe Zeff Design, for instance, would have slipped by the researchers. Do these highly interactive books skew male? They certainly are mostly found on the iPad so we might assume the appeal to more affluent male readers, or can we? (This is why getting the raw data is so important, and why the researchers need to have a good understanding of what they are surveying.)

There is also a bit of a curious anomaly when it comes to the youngest group in the Nielsen report: those between 18-24 skew towards print rather than digital, but it reverses immediately upon reaching the next group. I only think this means that younger, and therefore less affluent readers are still addicted to cheap paperback books as their first choice, but as they are the least likely to buy books anyway it probably means little.

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