Monday, March 10, 2014


Historical Fiction Survey Results


I blogged here in October 2013 about the Historical Novel Society conducting a survey of readers' reading habits, purchasing/borrowing habits, interest in history and historical periods and reasons behind them, and the types of writing and writing skills of authors.

A few days ago, surveyor M.K. Tod emailed me these results of the analyses of the survey.

Do read the survey in-depth. I found it fascinating. Here are some of the highlights.

The survey reached 2,440 participants (83% female, 17% male) and was conducted between October 16 and November 11, 2013.

The largest participating group was in the 50-59 age range, followed by the 40-49 range.

The number of U.S. participants dominated the chart followed by the ones from the U.K. and Ireland.

The majority of the participants were readers followed by some authors and some bloggers.

Majority of the participants were avid readers, reading more than 30 books a year.

Showing Amazon's grip on the book retail business, people overwhelmingly bought books there.

Print books still dominated the number of books sold, but people tended to mostly buy a mix of print and electronic books.

In choosing a book, the following were important, in decreasing order of importance: subject matter, author, and trusted recommendation. Publisher was the least important of all the factors.

In terms of pricing, people chose the following: eBooks: $2–$6, print $6–$11, and hardcover $16–$20. These prices are below industry standard. The key takeaway from this is that people think eBooks should be much cheaper than print books. The premium put on production and distribution of books as a large part of the pricing of a book, meant that people expected the eBooks to be discounted.

In answer to why do you read historical fiction, people chose: to bring the past to life, because it's a great story, and to understand and learn without reading non-fiction.

People chose the following for the question within historical fiction, what type of story appeals to you?: fictional characters within a backdrop of great historical events, followed closely by, adventure, romance, life of a single historical figure. The least popular were inspirational and thriller.

Popular historical periods: 13th–16th centuries, 18th century, and 19th century. The least popular was prehistory.

Europe and Britain dominated the popular historical geographies category by far, followed by the U.S. The least popular was Latin America.

When reading a historical fiction novel, the following were most important parts: superb writing and feeling immersed in time and place. The least important was dysfunctional families.

Where do you find recommendations chart was broken down equally between: friends, favorite websites or blogs, online retailers especially Amazon, social media, and browsing the bookstore. The least looked for were publishers' websites.

People overwhelmingly didn't belong to book clubs but did discuss their books over social media.

The most popular looked for information from blogs are reviews, new release information, and author interviews.

BTW, as one of the survey participants, my blog is listed on Tod's blog.


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