Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
In this interview taped earlier this year at DBW 2013, Rebecca Joines Schinsky, Senior Editor & Community Manager at Book Riot, discussed the changing nature of book discovery and challenged the perception that young people are less interested in books than previous reading generations.
“We do find that younger readers are hungry for content about books online and it seems to be this myth in the industry that young people aren’t reading anymore,” Schinsky said. “Or maybe it’s just good fodder for cranky blog posts–you know, ‘the kids these days,’ play their Angry Birds and don’t read books. But our readers are primarily 18-35 years old and there’s roughly a 50/50 split roughly between men and women and they’re excited, and they’re into books and they want to talk about them.”
Recent data backs up Schinsky’s experiences at Book Riot. According to the 2012 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Review, prepared by Bowker and PW, Gen Y Millennials born between 1979 and 1989 spent more money on books in 2011 than any other age demographic. The survey found that millennials now buy 30 percent of books compared to baby boomers 24 percent. The most recent 2013 survey provides further emphasis of the importance of online discovery. Online retailers, led by Amazon, accounted for 44% of sales in 2012, a five percent increase over 2011. Meanwhile, chain bookstores–once the predominant book discovery factor–market share fell to 19%, down from 26% in 2011.
Schinsky also discussed the changing nature of book discovery for all readers in the face of a retail landscape that includes fewer bookstores for many communities.
“We certainly, at Book Riot, think that where we’re headed is online discoverability. And that it’s not just about frontlist. Publishers tend to be excited about their frontlist and three months after that book comes out they’re done talking about it. But most readers aren’t the readers that we are in the industry and they’re not concerned about what’s brand new.”