Books | Shelf Life

What's the last book you bought?

Want to know who’s buying books these days? Well, consumer marketing firm Bowker has just released its 2009 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Report --and it’s pretty interesting. Here’s their summary:

  • 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 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 annually, and 20% of those sales were for children’s books.
  • Americans like people. The biggest selling nonfiction genre is biography.

So, Shelf Lifers, where do you fit in all this? How many books do you buy a year on average? What’s the last book you bought?

Originally posted September 8 2010 — 10:40 AM EDT

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