Book Buyer Demographics: 46 User Facts & Numbers [2023]

we’ll be diving into the world of book buyer demographics. Understanding who is buying books, what they’re buying, and how often, is essential for publishers and authors alike.

In this post, we’ll explore the age, gender, income, and education levels of book buyers, and how this information can be used to inform marketing strategies and publishing decisions.

So, grab a cup of tea and settle in as we explore the fascinating world of book buyer demographics.

Quick Demographic Facts About Book Buyers

  • The US book industry made $29.33 billion in revenue in 2021.
  • Over 4 million new books, including self-published and commercially published, were published in 2022.
  • Romance is the most popular genre of books sold in the US, with over 32 million print copies sold in 2022.
  • In the first quarter of 2013, more women and older consumers were buying books.
  • Ebooks saw continued growth in the first quarter of 2013, with more iPads being used for eBook downloads.
  • Approximately 1,700 independent bookselling companies operate in the United States.
  • Hard copy book sales made up about 80% of all total book sales in August 2019, including paperback, hardback, and children’s books.
  • In the first half of 2019, individual unit book sales were down from 2018 when a total of about 675 million print books were sold in the US.

Smart phone with headphones and the paper books. Concept of listening to audiobooks.

These numbers reveal the changing landscape of the book industry and buyer demographics, reflecting the diversity of readers and the ongoing popularity of certain book formats.

Age Demographics of Book Buyers

  • Ages 18-31 make up 37% of book buyers
  • Ages 32-43 account for 30% of book purchases
  • Buyers aged 44-62 constitute 24% of the market
  • Lastly, the 63+ age group represents 31% of book buyers

Additionally, the ebook market is dominated by younger buyers:

  • 75% of ebook purchases are made by people aged between 18 and 45

These demographics reveal a diverse audience within the book-buying market, with various age groups and genders contributing significantly to overall sales.

Gender Demographics of Book Buyers

In terms of gender demographics:

  • Men make up 22% of book buyers
  • Women account for 32% of book purchases
  • A 2018 survey showed that 11 percent of U.S. women read 31 or more books that year, compared to five percent of male respondents.
  • On a gender basis, women are 13% more likely than men to have read a book in the prior 12 months (77% vs. 68%).
  • During the first quarter of 2013, more women and older consumers were buying books.

Looking at the data, it’s evident that women are generally more inclined to read and buy books compared to men in the United States.

Ethnicity Demographics Book Buyers

When considering ethnicity in the US:

  • Non-Hispanic Whites have a book-reading incidence of 76%
  • Non-Hispanic Blacks have a 69% incidence
  • Hispanics have a lower book-reading incidence at 58%

The data reveals that ethnicity and age play a significant role in book buying demographics, and can assist in understanding market preferences and tailoring promotional efforts to better target these segments.

Education Level Demographics

  • A significant correlation exists between education level and book reading habits.
  • Individuals with higher levels of education are more likely to read books.

Here are some key findings related to education level demographics:

  • College graduates read more books than those with only a high school diploma.
  • 82% of respondents with a college degree reported reading a book in the last year, compared to 62% of high school graduates.
  • Among college graduates, 35% read books frequently, reading at least one book per month.
  • Education level impacts book reading habits across all age groups, with higher-educated individuals consistently reporting higher rates of book reading.

It is evident that a person’s education level plays a crucial role in shaping their book reading habits, with higher-educated individuals being more avid readers than those with lower levels of education.

Average Income Level

  • A significant portion of book buyers in the U.S. have a high income. During a survey held in early 2019, 86% of respondents with an annual household income of more than $75,000 a year stated they had read at least one book in the previous year.
  • The largest demographics for book buyers in the U.S. include those aged 45 to 64, with high income and married, living in the western USA, and holding college degrees.
  • Customers with a college or graduate degree make up 57% of the book buying market and spend twice as much as those without a degree.
  • Those holding a graduate degree spend 156% more than the national average on books.

The book industry greatly benefits from the purchasing power of higher-income individuals and those with higher educational levels, as they tend to be avid readers and more engaged in purchasing books.

Other Interesting Facts About Book Buyers

  • 72% of adults in the United States read a book in 2020.
  • Millennials are the generation that reads the most, with 88% of them having read a book in the past year.
  • Women are more likely than men to have read a book in the past year.
  • 67% of readers say that they prefer to buy books from physical bookstores.
  • Readers who buy books online tend to read more than those who buy books in physical stores.
  • People who read on e-readers tend to read more books per year than those who read print books.
  • Readers aged 18-29 are the most likely to have borrowed a book from a library in the past year.
  • 61% of readers say that they prefer to read fiction, while 39% prefer non-fiction.
  • 30% of readers say that they often read books in bed before going to sleep.
  • People who read for pleasure are more likely to have higher levels of life satisfaction than those who don’t read.
  • Print book unit sales consistently surpass 700 million per year in the US.
  • 65% of US consumers prefer print as their most popular book format.
  • Audiobook sales increased by nearly 25% between 2017 and 2018.
  • Total audiobook sales approached nearly $1 billion during that period.
  • Over 90% of audiobooks are downloaded from the internet.
  • E-commerce became the largest channel for book sales in 2012.
  • eBook category experienced growth during this period.
  • Paperbacks remained the most popular format for readers in 2012.
  • In the first quarter of 2013, more women and older consumers were buying books.
  • More iPads were used for eBook downloads during that time.

It’s apparent that book buyer preferences are diverse based on format, channel, and technology usage, highlighting the need to stay updated on these trends to cater to a wide range of consumer needs.


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