What Lures People to Choose a Book?

Authors no doubt think of themselves as the brand names that lure people to buy books. A survey conducted online by Zogby International for Random House indicates it isn’t so, however.

Asked to say what first draws them to a book when browsing in a bookstore, 48 percent said it’s the subject, doubling the number who said it’s the author. For 11 percent, the title is what grabs them, while 7 percent mentioned the book-jacket design. Asked to cite “the most important factor in your most recent book purchase,” 43 percent said it was the subject and 29 percent said it was the author; 11 percent picked “good recommendation/word of mouth.”

Buying a book and reading a book are two different things. Sixty-five percent of respondents said that, in an average year, they buy a least one book they don’t get around to reading. We’ll assume people at least drink the coffee they buy at bookstores. Five percent of respondents said they “very often” go to a bookstore to buy a non-book item (coffee, DVDs, stationery, etc.). Another 21 percent said they do this “somewhat often.”