Fun fact Friday – Romance Readers and Market Performance

Do you ever wonder who is reading what?  I do all the time.  I also would love to put to rest the fear that people aren’t reading as much.  You’ll be happy to know that romance novels ranked number one in sales in the consumer market.  Romance Writers of American (RWA) claims that 14.5% of the market share goes to romance books.  The sales actually grew too.  2012 didn’t look as good, but not to worry, sales are still doing pretty decent.

So who are the people reading these books?  Well apparently 91% are women while only 9% are men.  Not too surprising I think.  Although, RWA conducted research  a year ago and found that the common readers age was starting at the age of 30.  I wonder if they did not take into account the YA Romance market?  Then again, it has been said that the largest group of YA-Romance readers are woman past the intended age.  I myself love YA.

So why are books bought?  This is what I find the most useful of all the research.  Something to also keep in mind is that the romance genre is reporting is as the fourth fasting growing e-book sale genre out there according to the NY Times.  Use this valuable reader information to help you write your story.


(2012 Romance Book Consumer survey)

  • The top overall decision factor in buying a romance is the story (50 percent), with the author following at 19 percent.
  • Twenty percent of romance book buyers surveyed purchase romance at least once a month. The remainder purchase every two or three months (22.8 percent) or less frequently.
  • Impulse purchases account for a significant portion of romance book purchases, with 27 percent of purchases being “pure impulse” — they had no prior intention of buying a book.
  • Romance buyers are buying e-books to a greater extent when compared with other major fiction subgenres. E-book sales of romance books have proportionally doubled in one year, from 22 percent in Q1 2011 to 44 percent in Q1 2012.

Top “offline” factors in influencing purchase decisions:

  • Enjoying the author’s previous books
  • Book is part of a series they’re reading
  • Description on the back cover or flaps
  • Recommendation of a friend or relative

Top “online” factors in influencing purchase decisions:

  • Online bookseller websites (,, etc.)
  • Reading about it/seeing it online
  • Seeing it on a best-seller list
  • Author website

Why do you buy a book?  I myself take recommendations and also stop to read the blurb on the back of an eye-catching cover.




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