Reader Survey Results!

Recently (June 2018), I posted a reader survey on Facebook. Because of the number of questions, the survey was broken up into three parts, which were then posted on three consecutive days. While some questions could have had more possible answers, I’d decided to keep them generic because of the overwhelming number of questions. I’ll be posting more specific surverys on certain subjects in the upcoming months. 

Here are the results, broken down into the different parts, with the number of responses to each question. 

Part 1: 1378 anonymous readers participated.

Gender: 1359 responses
Female: 98%
Male: 1.7%
Prefer not to say: 0.3%

Age: 1356 responses
Under 21: 0.9%
21-35: 20.5%
35-45: 31.8%
45-55: 26.4%
55-65: 15.1%
65+: 5.3%

Where do you buy the majority of your e-books? 1,357 responses
Amazon: 89.3%
iBooks: 2.1%
Barnes & Noble: 2.7%
Kobo: 1.2%
Google Play: 0.4%
Whichever site has the best deals: 4.4%

Do you have more than 1 ereader app on your device so you can download from more than one book site? 1,350 responses
Yes: 51%
No: 49%

Preferred genre (more than one category could be selected): 1,357 responses 
Romance: 92.3%
Suspense/thriller: 32.6%
Political thriller: 3.9%
Young adult: 22.8%
New adult: 24.4%
Sci-fi/fantasy:  23.5%
Memoirs/biographies: 4.6%
Non-fiction: 5.4%
Women’s fiction: 14.4%
Other: 10.9%

Preferred romance sub-genres (more than one category could be selected): 1,345 responses 
Suspense: 49.1%
Western: 20.1%
Military: 43.5%
Historical: 23.3%
Contemporary: 58.1%
Paranormal: 45.3%
Fantasy: 25.7%
MM: 20.5%
Menage: 31.3%
Reverse Harem: 15.1%
Sports: 26.7%
Comedy: 37.8%
Sci-Fi: 14.5%
Erotic: 46.9%

When it comes to sex in books, do you prefer….. 1,357 responses
Open bedroom door – you get  the whole sex scene in detail: 59.7%
Closed bedroom door – you know the couple is getting it on but you don’t need the details: 9.6%
Doesn’t matter: 30.7%

BDSM or not? 1,353 responses
Yes: 44.5%
No: 38%
Maybe: 17.5%

Taboo storylines? 1,358 responses
Yes: 22.5%
No: 10.8%
Depends on the taboo: 66.8%

Trigger warnings in blurbs? (More than one response could be given.) 1,343 responses
Yes for sexual assault: 37.1%
Yes for non-sexual assault: 12.2%
No because it gives away what’s going on in the story: 13.8%
Doesn’t matter to me: 50.8%

If a book cover doesn’t catch my eye, I won’t bother looking at the blurb. 1,343 responses
Yes: 38.4%
No: 61.6%

If a book cover doesn’t match the genre (in my opinion) I won’t buy it. 1,350 responses
Yes: 23.3%
No: 76.7%

If the blurb is long, I won’t bother to read it or buy the book. 1,350 responses
Yes: 13.4%
No: 86.6%

I will download the “sample” of books first by authors I don’t know, instead of buying the book. 1,351 responses
Yes: 38%
No: 62%

I’ll take a chance on buying an unknown author based on the blurb and cover alone. (In other words, no one recommended it.) 1,357 responses
Strongly agree: 23.1%
Agree: 61.6%
Disagree: 10.9%
Strongly disagree: 4.4%

I scroll through the lists of a genre to find new authors/books. 1,348 responses
Yes: 64.7%
No: 35.3%

I will only try a new author if they’ve been recommended to me. 1,359 responses
Yes: 15.6%
No: 84.4%

Where do you find new authors to read? (Can select more than one) 1,351 responses
Recommended by another reader: 80.8%
Recommended by another author: 79.9%
Through takeovers and other social media: 54.9%
“Also boughts” on book pages: 39.6%
Sponsored ads on FB, Amazon, or other site: 43%
Through their promo posts in FB groups: 54.6%

On what social media do you follow authors on a regular basis? (Can select more than one) 1,348 responses
Facebook: 96.%
Instagram: 44.5%
Twitter: 34.9%
Pinterest: 14.5%
Bookbub: 44.9%
Allauthor: 0.8%
Book & Main: 12.8%
Fictfact: 0.4%
Amazon: 65.6%
Goodreads: 59.1%
Youtube: 6.1%

Do you subscribe to Bookbub’s Featured Deals Newsletters? 1,349 responses
Yes: 65.7%
No: 34.3%

How do you feel about online author event/takeovers? 1,266 responses
I love going to online takeovers to find new authors or support my favorite authors: 55.1%
I only go to them to support my favorite authors: 21.9%
I only go to them to enter the contests and don’t bother reading any other post: 2.7%
I think they’re so played out and don’t go to them anymore: 20.4%

Do you have favorite authors whose books you’ll buy without looking at the blurb? 1,360 responses
Yes: 91.3%
No: 8.7%

If an author rewrote and/or added to a story you’ve already read and enjoyed, then rereleased it, would you be willing to buy the updated version? 1,360 responses
Yes: 40%
No: 12.3%
Maybe: 47.7%

Cliffhangers? 1,356 responses
Love ’em: 10.5%
Love ’em only if I know the next book is out: 22%
Love ’em but only if I know they’re coming: 10%
Hate ’em: 18%
Doesn’t matter to me: 16.7%
If the main characters got an HEA or HEA-for-no and the cliffhanger was for a new couple in the next book, I’d be okay with it: 22.8%

Have you ever returned a book (print or ebook)? 1,361 responses
Yes: 42.8%
No: 57.2%

What was the reason why you returned it? 624 responses
I didn’t realize I’d already purchased it: 45.7%
The formatting was poor and was difficult to read: 8.7%
The story was poorly written and I couldn’t get past the first few chapters: 29.2%
It was a “stuffed” book – titled story was only a small portion of the book, the rest was stories I didn’t know were in there: 11.1%
I know it’s wrong, but I returned it after I read it because I couldn’t afford to keep it: 0.5%
I read the book, but didn’t like it: 5%

Covers – which do you prefer to see on the covers of romance books? (More than one response could be selected) 1,248 responses
Solo male, face showing: 36.3%
Solo male, face cut off or otherwise hidden: 29.5%
Solo female, face showing: 23.3%
Solo female, face cut off or otherwise hidden: 18.5%
Couple (MF, MM, or FF), faces showing: 61.5%
Couple (MF, MM, or FF), faces cut off or otherwise hidden: 38.5%
Body parts only – abs, back, feet, legs, arms, etc: 27.9%
No people on the cover at all: 23.1%

In your opinion, do the covers of series have to look very similar or not? 1,358 responses
Very similar: 8.2%
Somewhat similar: 48.7%
Doesn’t matter if they are similar or not: 43.1%

Does it bother you if the models on the cover don’t match the author’s description of the character(s)? 1,353 responses
Yes: 52.9%
No: 15.7%
I never really notice if they do or not: 31.3%

Which do you prefer to see on non-romance covers? 1,246 responses
People: 27.8%
Objects or places: 72.2%

If a model you love or hate is on a cover, does that influence your decision to skip the book or investigate further and read the blurb? 1,353 responses
Yes: 12.2%
No: 64.5%
Maybe: 23.3%

Romance characters (male) , which do you prefer? 1,344 responses
Strong, alpha male: 25.5%
Broken male who recovers with love: 4.5%
Depends on the book/genre: 70%

Romance characters (female) which do you prefer? 1,343 responses
Strong, self-confident female: 21.6%
Flawed female who learns to move past it with love: 8.6%
Depends on the book/genre: 69.8%

Part 2 – 1075 participants

Have you or are you planning on completing Part 1 of the survey? 1,061 responses
Yes: 99.5%
No: 0.5%

How many books do you read per month, on average? 1,064 responses
0-3: 11.7%
4-6: 22.1%
7-10: 18.6%
11-15: 13.6%
16-20: 12.1%
20+: 21.8%

Do you prefer ebooks or print books? 1,055 responses
E-books: 81.3%
Print: 18.7%

If you prefer print books, do you buy them or prefer to borrow from your local library? 697 responses
Buy: 79.2%
Borrow: 20.8%

If you buy them, do you order online or go to your local bookstore? 764 responses
Online: 71.7%
Physical bookstore: 28.3%

Do you borrow ebooks from your local library? 1,053 responses
Yes: 21.9%
No: 78.1%

If you find a new author to love at your local library, will you buy their books or only continue to borrow them? 922 responses
Will buy: 54.4%
Might buy: 41.2%
Won’t buy but will continue to borrow their books from the library: 4.3%

What is the maximum you’ll pay for an ebook by an author who is new to you? 1,055 responses
$0.99: 11.3%
$1.99: 15%
$2.99: 25%
$3.99: 23.9%
$4.99: 13.7%
$5.99: 11.1%

What is the maximum you’ll pay for an ebook by an author whose books are an automatic buy for you? 1,052 responses
$0.99: 0.9%
$1.99: 1.3%
$2.99: 6.8%
$3.99: 11.8%
$4.99: 24.3%
$5.99 or more: 54.8%

What is the maximum you’ll pay for a print book by an author you love? 994 responses
$9.99: 23.9%
$10.99: 6.4%
$11.99: 5.3%
$12.99: 9.2%
$13.99: 2.3%
$14.99: 11.8%
$15.99 or more: 41%

If you get your ebooks from Amazon, do you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited? 1,049 responses
Yes: 39.6%
No: 60.4%

If you have KU, do you use the flip mode feature? 571 responses
Yes – I like it: 8.8%
No – I don’t like it: 36.4%
No – I don’t use it because I know authors don’t get paid for pages read if I read it in flip mode: 54.8%

Did you ever have a KU subscription, but left for a reason? 945 responses
Yes: 23%
No: 77%

If you left KU, which best describes why? 368 responses
I wasn’t reading my $10 worth each month: 15.2%
I couldn’t afford it anymore: 14.9%
I didn’t like the quality of most of the books I found through KU: 8.4%
I’d heard that authors got paid less for their KU books and I didn’t like that fact: 17.1%
I stopped buying my e-books from Amazon altogether: 1.4%
Other: 42.9%

Does it bother you to see “Free in KU” in a promotion? 1,014 responses
Yes: 28.5%
No: 71.5%

Do you leave reviews on Goodreads? 1,055 responses
Yes: 47.1%
No: 16.6%
Sometimes: 36.3%

Do you leave reviews on the site where you purchased the book? 1,057 responses
Yes: 50.6%
No: 8.1%
Sometimes: 41.2%

Do you read a book’s reviews and do they influence whether or not you buy the book? 1,042 responses
I don’t read reviews: 20.7%
I read reviews but don’t use them to make my decision: 54.4%
I read the bad reviews only and decide if I want to buy the book based on them: 10.8%
If a reviewer says stuff like “too much sex,” “too much violence,” “sex was too graphic,” etc., this will actually make me decide to get the book: 11.3%
If a reviewer says stuff like “too much sex,” “too much violence,” “sex was too graphic,” etc., I will not buy the book: 2.7%

Book length – what’s your preference?  (More than one response could be chosen,) 1,058 responses
Epic – 100k+ words: 41.8%
Novel – 40k-99k: 82.6%
Novella – 17k-40k: 20.1%
Short stories/novelettes – under 17k: 11%

HEAs: 1,053 responses
A book has to have a “happily ever after” or a “happily ever after for now” otherwise it’s ruined for me: 48.2%
Doesn’t matter if there is an HEA or not as long as the book was good: 51.8%

When selecting a book, which is more important to you? 1,053 responses
Cover: 18.7%
Blurb: 81.3%

If an author’s name is larger than the book title on the cover, would that bother you? 1,059 responses
Yes: 25.7%
No: 74.3%

1st person POV or 3rd? (1st is I, me, myself, as if the character is telling his story to the reader. 3rd is he, she, they, as if the narrator is watching the characters and reading their minds then tells the reader what’s going on.) 1,064 responses
I only read 1st POV: 3%
I only read 3rd POV: 1.2%
I prefer 1st but might read 3rd if the book sounds good: 17.8%
I prefer 3rd but might read 1st if the book sounds good: 13.7%
Doesn’t really matter to me: 64.3%

Part 3 – 689 participants

Have you or are you planning to complete Part 1 of the survey? 684 responses
Yes: 99.9%
No: 0.1%

Have you or are you planning to complete Part 2 of the survey? 682 responses
Yes: 99.6%
No: 0.4%

Do you like watching video trailers for books? 682 responses
Yes: 26.7%
No: 24.6%
Maybe, if it’s a favorite author or something about it catches my eye: 48.7%

Do you reread stories by your favorite author? 686 responses
Yes! All the time!: 63.6%
Yes, but only maybe once or twice: 11.8%
Yes, but only if it’s a series andI want to refresh my memory by binging on previous books before the next book in the series comes out: 8.7%
Maybe, for another reasonthan stated above: 5.1%
Nope, once I read a book, I’m done and move on. There are too many more books out there that I haven’t read! So many books, so little time!: 10.8%

Do you sign up for the newsletters of your favorite authors so you can get the lastest release alerts? 685 responses
Yes: 90.7%
No: 9.3%

Would you unsubscribe from an author’s newsletter if they send it more than once a month? 674 responses
Yes: 22.3%
No: 77.7%

Do you like when authors include stuff besides their current releases in a newsletter? (Fun stuff, excerpts, photos, details of their week, etc) 680 responses
Yes: 70.6%
No: 2.6%
Sometimes: 26.8%

If an author had an ongoing story in their newsletters, where you received a new scene every week, other week, or month, would you follow it or not? 672 responses
Yes: 67.4%
No: 32.6%

Would you send a friend requests to a new author whose books you’ve found and love or would you just follow their author page? 686 responses
Send friend request: 7.7%
Follow their author page: 34%
Both: 54.8%
Neither: 3.5%

Do you join the reader groups of authors you like to read? 685 responses
Yes: 86%
No: 14%

What do you like to see the most in an author’s reader group? (More than one response could be chosen) 641 responses
Excerpts from the works in progress: 70.8%
New release promos: 74.7%
Takeovers from other authors: 37.4%
Teasers and covers before anyone else sees them: 78.6%
Contests: 57.7%
Live writes (when authors write stories “live” in the group based on images or suggestions from the members: 22%
Fun stuff: 70.2%
Personal stuff (but not too personal) so you can get to know the author better: 71.8%
Other: 7.3%

Have you ever left an author’s group for any of the following reasons: 445 responses
Too much drama: 51%
The author stopped running the group and allowed a few admins to run it: 32.1%
The author only posted once or twice a week: 2%
The author posted too many times per day: 7.9%
Politics and other hot topics were allowed: 39.6%
I no longer cared for the author and/or their books: 28.1%
Other: 24.3%

Are you active in author groups (liking, commenting, or posting) or do you just prefer to stay in the background? 656 responses
Very active: 12.7%
Somewhat active: 37.3%
Quiet as a mouse: 11.1%
Active in some, quiet in others: 38.9%

Takeovers – Do the time differences make it difficult for your participation? (And yes, there are countries and continents combined.) 620 responses
Yes – the ones in the US, Canada, South America (andother time zones in that part of the world) are usually difficult for me to participate in: 20.2%
Yes – the ones in the UK, Europe, and Africa (and othertime zones in that part of the world) are usually difficult for me to participate in: 15%
Yes – the ones in New Zealand, Australia, and Asia (and other time zones in that part of the world) are usually difficult for me to participate in: 13.4%
No: 51.5%

Do you attend author events/book signings as a reader? 681 responses
Yes: 39.1%
No: 60.9%

If you do attend, how many in a year, on average? (If you’re an author/reader, please only pick how many you attend as a reader.) 348 responses
0-2: 86.5%
3-5: 12.1%
6+: 1.4%

If you do attend signings, how far are you willing to travel? 365 responses
Only if it’s within driving distance and I don’t have to stay at a hotel: 45.5%
Only if it’s within driving distance and I have no problem staying at a hotel: 34%
I’ve flown to other cities to attend signings to see my favorite authors: 20.5%

Have you ever bought a signed book by an author you met/heard of for the first time at a signing? 572 responses
Yes: 47.4%
No: 52.6%

What are your favorite swag items at book signings? This is in reference to the swag an author spreads out on their table that is free for you to take. Not the more expensive swag they might sell, give you with a book purchase, or giveaway during contests and raffles. (More than one response could be chosen.) 485 responses
Bookmarks (unique/non-papper stock): 61.9%
Buttons: 22.7%
Keychains: 51.3%
Something unique no one else has: 61.6%
Pens: 68.5%
Paper swag – postcards, bookmarks, notepads, etc: 43.9%
Stickers/temporary tattoos: 19.8%
Rubber bracelets: 22.1%
Book charms: 53.8%
Magnets: 52.2%
Lip balm: 37.1%
Mint tins: 26%
Can/bottle koozie (insulated sleeve): 27.6%
Stress balls: 36.7%
Other cute stuff that has to do with the theme of the author’s books: 56.7%

If your favorite authors had swag items, based on their books, for purchase, which items would you be interested in? 575 responses
T-shirts: 61.4%
Sweatshirts: 28.2%
Canvas totebags: 54.3%
Posters: 9.4%
Jigsaw puzzles: 11.5%
Christmas ornaments: 21%
Craft items made from the pages of their books that had been damage and rendered unsellable: 18.1%
Mousepads: 20.9%
Charm bracelets/necklaces or other types of jewelry: 39.5%
Wine glasses: 26.6%
Shot glasses: 26.4%
Makeup bags: 20.9%
Phone covers: 22.4%
E-reader sleeves: 41%
Plastic water bottle or jug: 32%
Throw pillow or blanket: 25.6%
USB drive with exclusive content – stories you can’t get anywhere else: 37.2%
Customized fun items like a Rubik’s cube or Magic 8 Ball: 17%
Limited edition boxed sets of books: 55%
Journal: 37.2%

Do you like anthologies (different authors) or collections (same author)? 678 responses
Anthologies: 4.7%
Collections: 15.2%
Both: 71.2%
Neither: 8.8%

For 1st Person POV, which do you prefer? 671 responses
Present tense: 18.6%
Past tense: 7.6%
Doesn’t matter: 73.8%

For 3rd Person POV, which do you prefer? 669 responses
Present tense: 12.9%
Past tense: 10.3%
Doesn’t matter: 76.8%

Which do you prefer – series or stand alones? 687 responses
Series: 18.2%
Stand alones: 9.5%
Both/doesn’t matter: 72.3%

Have you ever started a series in the middle before going back and starting from book 1? 682 responses
Yes: 43.7%
No: 14.8%
I’ve gotten a book in the middle of the series, but when I found out it was part of a series, I went and got book 1 and started from there first: 41.5%

Do you like when an author has a boxed set of their series or do you prefer to pick and choose when and if you get an individual book from the series? 679 responses
Boxed set: 25.6%
Individual: 12.7%
Depends on the author: 61.7%

Does it bother you to download an ebook only to find out it’s a “stuffed book” with multiply stories considered to be “bonus material” that can be found in the author’s other books? This is in reference to books you did not realize had multiple stories in them. If an anthology, boxed set, or collection clearly states in the blurb AND on the cover, AND there is a list of the stories/participating authors in the blurb, it is not considered to be a “stuffed book.” 677 responses
Yes: 59.5%
No: 10.8%
Maybe – depends on if I really liked the first story and the rest were just as good, or for some other reason: 29.7%

Have you ever reported a book because it was stuffed, poorly formated, or poorly written? (Could chose more than one response.) 666 responses
Never reported one: 81.1%
Reported a stuffed book: 12.8%
Reported a poorly fomated book: 9.2%
Reported a poorly written book: 7.2%

Which would you like to see on an author’s website? 661 responses
Excerpts: 69.6%
Exclusive short stories: 55.4%
Games: 23%
A map or outline of a place in one or more of the author’s stories: 48.7%
A list of their upcoming book signings: 59%
An active blog: 35.9%
Images of what they think their characters look like: 51.6%

What is your preferred author’s profile image on social media? 681 responses
An image of the author: 31%
An avatar: 0%
A graphic of their current book: 5.4%
Some other graphic: 0.7%
Doesn’t matter what they have on there: 62.8%

Does it bother you if an author uses a stock photo in place of their own image on social media? 680 responses
Yes: 18.5%
No: 24.7%
I don’t care: 56.8%

Author gender when it comes to certain genres…. 681 responses
I don’t care what their gender is as long as they can write well: 98.8%
I don’t like when a male author writes romance or when a female author writes non-romance (Or any other genres that are not “traditionally” written by a certain gender): 1.2%

Would it bother you if you found out, after interacting with an author on social media, that they were not the gender they portrayed? This does not refer to someone who is transgender and identifies with the opposite gender than they were born with. Nor does it refer to an author representing themselves as gender-neutral or the opposite sex because they’re in a genre that readers expect to be written by someone of a certain gender. (If asked, the authors would admit to being the gender they truly are.) This refers to someone who is hiding behind their computer screen, pretending to be the opposite sex for the sole purpose of marketing and interacting with readers. Someone who is outright deceiving readers if questioned about their gender. Male authors having “girl chats” with women who think they are talking to another woman. Or female authors flirting with women who think they’re talking to a male. 677 responses
Yes: 49.6%
No: 20.8%
Maybe – depends on the author and their reasoning: 29.5%

If an author you loved and followed asked their readers to do something that was technically frowned upon in the book world, would you….. 661 responses
Do it, if I thought they had a valid reason: 8.6%
Ignore the request, but not care if others did it: 35.4%
Stop following the author: 56%

Would you be upset if you found out one of your favorite authors had been using a ghostwriter to write some or all of their books? This is not an uncommon practice in publishing, but this question refers to an author buying a story from a ghostwriter (sometimes $100-200 for a full length novel), slapping a cover on it, and publishing it as their own with very little or no other participation in creating the story. 673 responses
I’d be very mad and not buyany more of “their” books: 42.1%
I would be okay with it if the author admitted up front that they were using a ghostwriter. It wouldn’t bother me at all: 39.7%
I don’t care who wrote it vs. who says they wrote it because I still enjoyed the stories: 18.3%

Have you ever defended a favorite author’s honor, when they’d been accused of doing something wrong, then found out later that the accusation was true? 637 responses
Yes, but I still defended them because I didn’t think it was a big deal: 2%
Yes, but I stood by them because we all make mistakes and the author apologized for their actions: 7.7%
Yes, I felt betrayed and stopped following the author and reading their books: 6.1%
No, I tend to avoid drama and not comment on posts that contain it: 84.1% 

Have you ever given details of your personal life in a book/author group that you later regretted posting? 676 responses
Yes: 10.1%
No: 89.9%

Have you ever gotten a book from a pirate site? 683 responses
Yes: 2.9%
No: 93%
Maybe – not sure if it was a pirate site or not: 4.1%

Do you download free books just because they’re free and don’t read a majority of them? 675 responses
Yes: 26.1%
No: 73.9%

Do you get a majority of your books from legal free sites such as Instafreebie, Bookfunnel, or a similar site? 677 responses
Yes: 26.4%
No, I get most of my free books from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, or Google Play: 73.6% 

Have you ever signed up for an author’s newsletter, just to get a free book or other incentive, then unsubscribed? 682 responses
Yes, and I unsubscribed immediately: 1.6%
Yes, but I waited until after I received one or more newsletters: 16.4%
No: 82%

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who particpated in this reader survey. As I stated above, some questions were intentionally left vague, and I will explore those questions deeper in future surveys. I could not allow particpants to add their own response choices due to the high number of responses. 

I hope this survey helps new and experienced authors alike. While some of the results I’d expected, more often than not I was surprised at the percentages. If you have any questions you’d like to see in future surveys, please contact me through my Facebook page.