It’s an age-old question: What makes a reader choose one book over another? These days, the potential answers often feel endless, and that’s before we even get to how different answers are connected to each other.

But knowing that whatever the answer, it will provide fodder for discussion and consideration rather than a clear-cut game plan shouldn’t stop us asking the question! So I did.

Before I share the results, some notes on the survey pool:

  • 442 people answered, and each could only pick one answer.
    • So statistically significant, this isn’t. It’s representative of a portion of the reading public. It’s anecdotal.
  • The pool was biased to those of us who have a stake in reading, most often a professional one. I doubt there was a casual reader in the bunch.
    • In an effort to keep it simple, I didn’t ask for any demographic data.
  • This was an online poll, and was distributed via Facebook and Twitter.
    • So these are people who spend time online. (Do I get a gold star for stating the obvious?)
  • I neglected to include “Cover Art” as a choice, and several people pointed out that I should have (it was an accidental oversight, and once I realized it, I couldn’t add it in without losing the responses I’d already gotten).

Now, the results. Click the image to see it bigger in a pop-up window.


And conclusions?

  • Authors need to build their fan base. (Note to self: Next poll topic is the effectiveness of different ways of doing just that.)
  • Recommendations in just about any form are powerful.
  • Blurbs aren’t as important as we think they are (to this segment of the audience, which is probably because we’re a bit cynical about them, if we’re honest, right?)
  • We need to remember how powerful library displays are; twice as many people picked this vs. store displays.

What do you think? Any questions?