Word of Mouth Still Best Book Promotion

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Kristin McLean, executive director of  The Association of Booksellers for Children  (ABC), a national non-profit trade association for the children’s book industry, did survey to see what sparked book sales. It was a poll, not a scientific study, but the results from 431 book buyers were revealing.

According to her research, advertising and social networking sites are among the least likely media to influence the decisions of book buyers. What is the most likely motivator?  68.4 percent of responders said they purchased a book, “ Because I’ve enjoyed the author’s previous books.” The only other influence named as a major factor in book-buying decisions is “books my friends and family recommended” (56.7 percent).

Other things that motivated people to purchase books included, “book reviews in magazines and newspapers,” “browsing in bookstores” and “award-winning books.”

Here are the details of McLean’s work:

I’ve enjoyed the author’s previous books (68.4%)
Books my friends or family have recommended (56.7%)

Book reviews in magazines/newspapers (38.3%)
Browsing in bookstores (37.1%)
Award-winning books (33.9%)

Books on the Bestseller Lists (32.2%)

Publisher websites (72.3%)
Author websites (63.3%)
Advertisements (57.8%)
Social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Goodreads, etc.) (54.0%)
Book and reader blogs (50.7%)
Book-oriented websites with reviews, interviews, etc. (38.7%)
In-store displays (37.3%)
Online book seller websites (Amazon.com, BN.com, Borders.com) (34.5%)
Browsing in libraries (25.7%)

McLean said, “The majority of ‘traditional marketing efforts’ are falling into that last category, which I think speaks volumes about how many dollars are going down the drain in the effort to connect with consumers. The sample correspond pretty closely to the typical demographics of who buys books–73.5% female versus 26.5% male, and a nice range of ages with the center of the curve in the 36-45 age range.”

Published on: Oct 16, 2010 

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