Pub Rants

Stats And A Few More Thoughts

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STATUS: I’ve got an auction happening tomorrow. That just makes the day crazy busy.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? A CHANGE WOULD DO YOU GOOD by Sheryl Crow

Basically last night was nothing but whining—at least I thought so until I started to really think about it. It’s actually extremely important for an agent to read for pleasure (and yes, sometimes reading sample pages is fun but ultimately it’s still working so it’s not quite the same thing as reading a book solely for pleasure). Do you know why? Because that’s when an agent feels the joy of the printed page and the written word. That’s when we remember how much we enjoy just reading like normal people do.

It also keeps us in touch with what’s out there, what’s selling or catching people’s attention. I love to read and when you work too hard, sometimes you forget that passion because all you want is to tick off one more item from your long list of TO DOs. So not only is it imperative (work-wise) to read for pleasure but it’s also wise for our sanity in general.

And finally, I have the stats for you from our poll on Tuesday, June 16, 2008. Some comments came in after the cut off and we’re sorry to not include you if your answer came late but we had to create a cut-off somewhere to compile.

Responses: 195
(not everyone answered every question which is why a few of the totals do not add up to 195)

Do you prefer hard copy or electronic?
Hard Copy: 185Electronic: 10
95% hard copy

When going into a store to buy a book, have you then bought a second title?
Yes: 187
No: 8
96% Yes

Have you bought a book based on the cover alone?
Yes: 63No: 131
68% No

Have you ever bought a book based on the back cover copy?
Yes: 155
No: 39
80% Yes

Kristin comment: If you ever needed proof that it was worthwhile to make your query pitch paragraph mirror back cover copy, here it is I think. Agents are just like readers. We can be swayed by good back cover copy.

How often have you bought a book based on a friend or family member’s recommendation?
Always: 5 = 2%
Almost all the time: 19 = 10%
Frequently (much of the time/ around 50% of the time): 75 = 39%
Rarely: 72 = 37%
Never: 23 = 12%

Have you ever bought a book because I mentioned it on this blog? If so, which book(s).
Yes: 63
No: 128
67% No

Which ones:
Ally Carter (23)
Sherry Thomas (13)
Linnea Sinclair (7)
Lisa Shearin (5)
Shanna Swendson (5)
Hank Phillippi Ryan (3)
Jana DeLeon (2)
Kelly Parra (2)
Marianne Mancusi (2)
Cheryl Hingley (1)
Leslie Langtry (1)
Kim Reid (1)
Jennifer O’Connell (1)

Kristin comment: Most interesting point about this question is that I actually mention quite a few non-client books on my blog and nobody mentioned whether that has swayed him/her to buy some other non-Nelson Agency Client book.

How many books do you buy in a year?
0: 01-10: 29 = 15%
11-50: 82 = 44%
51-100: 42 = 22%
100+: 35 = 19%
With several responses of 300+ and even 500+

Kristin comment: Holy cow you blog readers buy books. I love you!

How many books do you check out of the library per year?
0: 87 = 47%
1-10: 16 = 8%
11-50: 45 = 24%
51-100: 23 = 12%
100+: 16 = 9%
Again with several responses in the hundreds

Kristin comment: We love libraries and librarians so it’s perfectly okay with us if you check out from the library. Libraries often buy lots of copies of each book and that makes us happy!

15 Responses

  1. karen wester newton said:

    I love libraries, too! The reason I was one of the “library books per year = 0” responses is that I never remember to take them back! And then they disappear into my shelves, and I have to slink into the library and confess that I lost their book. I’d rather just buy it without the guilt.

  2. Jean said:

    Librarians also like it when you make recommendations! 🙂

    Thanks for the poll, Kristen. Interesting results.

  3. DeadlyAccurate said:

    I didn’t take your poll, so chalk me up as another who bought Leslie Langtry’s first book based on your blog (or your newsletter; I don’t remember).

  4. Shannyn said:

    Hi – As a former English teacher I totally understand about reading for pleasure. For more than ten years (yes 10) I only read books that I thought I would be teaching. Although I would enjoy reading them, I read with a different purpose – looking for symbolism, literary elements, thinking of projects to coordinate with the reading, etc.

    I allowed myself one book each summer just for fun. Since being at home with my kids for the past 3 years, I have rediscovered pleasure reading. My TBR pile scares my husband because he watches me plow through books and there are always more.

  5. JES said:

    Thanks so much for posting the results, Kristin — and for the interleaved commentary. Very interesting. It’d be interesting to run the same poll once a year. By next June, for example, maybe we’ll have a better idea where ebooks are going. Also, of course, your blog’s readership will have trebled by then!

  6. RK said:

    My day job and the library are in the same building and I love that. I’m often found browsing the shelves in my “second office.” 🙂

  7. Fiona said:

    I have huge fine for my library that I haven’t even dared take back the last book. So uhm, not going back… ever. It’s a rubbish library anyway, no books I want to read that I haven’t already read.

    I wish libraries would do more paperbacks because most often they don’t – and I hate hard backs.

  8. Anonymous said:

    I’ve been frequenting my library a lot this year. I just can’t afford to buy books right now. But I hope checking out the books of new authors and old favorites shows my support. I’ve also requested a number of books, which the library has purchased.

    (Fiona, have you tried asking your library to purchase certain books? The Seattle Public Library system lets us submit requests online. And I agree, paperbacks are easier to tote around, but I understand why libraries purchase hardbacks–they stand up better to frequent reading.)

  9. Ryan Field said:

    The results are interesting. I was a little suprised so many prefer hard copy over electronic, and I wonder if that will change a few years from now.

    Thanks for all the time you put into this.

  10. Pamela said:

    Thanks for the poll, Kristin. Pretty interesting.

    A couple of years ago, I cleaned out the bookshelves of the books I knew I’d never read again and gave them to a charity. 500 books. Jeez!

    Now I am really trying to hit the library more frequently. Here in Los Angeles, I was told that due to budget cuts, the library system wasn’t purchasing any books until after July. Well, a friend of mine’s new book (2nd in a series of 3) came out in May. So I offered to buy the library a copy of book #2, if someone who worked there who liked the genre (caper with a dash or romance) read Book #1. They hemmed and hawed.

    I’m headed over there today to see if they take me up on the offer. Jeez – you’d think they’d be grateful!

  11. georgiam said:

    I–for some reason–particularly like buying books at the airport, without having one in mind. So I bought a Jodi Picoult novel a few months back (Perfect Match) just because I remembered you had said something about her writing on the blog. I did a quick search and apparently that post was from 2006!

  12. LBDG said:

    Have you bought a book based on the cover alone?
    68% No

    In the wise words of the band Carter USM:

    “You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can tell how much it costs.”

  13. Gail Dayton said:

    I had to be one of those who’d never bought a book because it was mentioned on the blog–though I’m one of those who’d already read a bunch of the books before you mentioned them.

    However, I can now add myself to the list of “mentions.” I picked up Ally Carter’s I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU and enjoyed it a lot. Now I will share it with my 12-year-old niece. She’s a mature 12, with 3 older brothers.