How are readers finding books?

Being hard at work in San Francisco, I couldn’t attend Digital Book World’s Discoverability conference last weekend in New York; but DBW’s newsletters are so consistently useful that I’ve looked forward to hearing about it.

Here’s the first scoop:  We know less than we thought we did about how readers are (or aren’t) finding our books!

Reader behavior is in flux and the ways in which people engage with and discover new content has grown exponentially, according to data from Bowker presented by the company’s vice president of publishing services Kelly Gallagher . . .

– In 2011, nearly half of consumers changed their book-buying behavior (chart below)
– 39% of books are sold online, 26% in stores, and the rest in nearly a dozen other ways (chart below)
– People discover new books in up to 44 different ways

Perhaps most daunting is that e-reader owners, tablet owners, online book shoppers, customers of different retailers, people of all demographics, readers of all genres are all discovering books in different ways.

Imagine the complexity: a 27-year-old female romance reader from suburban Indianapolis who reads on a tablet computer but spends most of her time browsing the Web on her laptop versus a 43-year-old female romance reader living in Los Angeles who reads and buys exclusively on her e-reader. They’re both romance readers and female, but couldn’t be more different otherwise when it comes to how they discover and read books — and reaching them takes different marketing tactics.

The details are fascinating, and so is the chart.  Read all about it in DBW’s newsletter!