Bowker Reports on the Book Industry

Bowker® assigns ISBNs, maintains Books In Print®, and provides what it calls “bibliographic information management solutions.”  The agency just released its 2009 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Report. You can read a summary of the report on the Bowker Web site. 

Here is a brief excerpt from the summary:

It’s the demographics of book buyers that make the Report an essential read for any book industry maven. The report reveals income levels, age, generation and more. For example,

  • More than 40% of Americans over the age of 13 purchased a book in 2009 and the average age of the American book buyer is 42.
  • Women lead men in overall purchases, contributing 64% of sales. Even among detective and thriller genres, women top 60% of the sales. Where do men catch up? Fantasy titles are purchased evenly by men and women.
  • Baby Boomers spend. The boomer generation is the largest purchasing generation, making up 30% of sales. Their elders – Matures – contribute 16%.
  • More income doesn’t mean more book purchases. 32% of the books purchased in 2009 were from households earning less than $35,000 annual and 20% of those sales were for children’s books.
  • Americans like people. The biggest selling non-fiction genre is biography – auto and otherwise.

Do these facts change your opininon about the state of the publishing today?

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