Why Would Someone Buy Your Book?

In case you missed my post a few days ago, I provided some really interesting details from Bowker’s newly-released “2009 Book Consumer Annual Review: U.S. Demographics & Buying Behaviors.” Click here to read it.

What I touched on a bit in that post, but would like to expand on here, is the segment on what makes people buy books. By understanding that, we can have a much better idea on how to market our own books.

Here’s a segment-by-segment breakdown of the brief PW report on the subject and an analysis of each point:

The study found topic/subject and author to be the two most important motivating factors, although there was a distinct difference between fiction and nonfiction. The author was the single most important reason consumers chose a novel, while subject was the top buying factor for nonfiction titles.

This is something I’ve been saying for a while. Marketing a fiction book is completely different from marketing a non-fiction book. In some ways, non-fiction is easier to sell, since you have a ready-made audience of people looking for information on a certain topic. Personally, I love reading books about politics. I’ll buy a political book, but not necessarily a self-help book. I’m sure every non-fiction fan has their own section of the bookstore they head to. The key is to catch the eye of the reader who already is looking for books in your genre.

Fiction is a completely different story. People usually choose to read a novel because it’s what their friends are reading. Or because they’re a fan of the author. In this sense, an author website (as opposed to a book website) is even more essential for a fiction author. This study proves the importance of keeping your readers interested and occupied so that when your next book comes out, they’re around to find out about it.

“The author” finished below “browsing through a book” as a reason for buying a nonfiction work.

This sentence in particular points to the importance of featured excerpts. While people traditionally browse through a book in a bookstore, that’s a lot harder to do online. Which is even more reason why you MUST have featured excerpts on your website. For nonfiction authors, I usually recommend that they include more than one featured excerpt — giving a reader more of a browsing experience. One thing I commonly recommend is a table of contents, with various chapter names linking to brief excerpts from those chapters. For fiction authors, one long excerpt makes a lot of sense. Less so for non-fiction authors, and this seems to back that up.

The most common way consumers became aware of a title in 2009 was at a store through an in-store display, with recommendation the second most popular.

This doesn’t distinguish between fiction and non-fiction, but I’ll tackle it anyway. An in-store display is great. And we can always try and replicate something similar online. By getting your book in people’s faces as much as possible, you’ll be able to accomplish what’s close to an in-store display. So get your book reviewed (and your cover displayed) on as many websites and blogs as possible. Get links to your website worked in whenever you do interviews or write articles. Create your own display of sorts!

With hundreds of thousands of new books on the market,  it can be quite a challenge to get yours to stand out. But, hopefully, this information will give us a place to start!

Ready to talk with us about marketing your book online? Contact us today for a free consultation!