I listened to BBC Click about the future of publishing and had the idea to look at a couple of parameters in my reading habits: where I get the idea to read each book-length text, how I get hold of them and what form they take. Here’s about the past year, April 2011 through March 2012 (38 books).

45% Author I like
32% Recommendation from friend / family
13% Chance discovery
5% Publicist pitch
5% Work demands

34% Gift (all but two from Super Dear Reader Birger)
16% Library
10% Download (2 public domain, 1 creative commons, 1 pirated)
8% Workplace
8% Review copy
5% On-line snail mail order
5% Flea market
5% Lent by friend / family
3% Book fair
3% Urban book store
3% Anthology I participated in

58% Paperback
29% Hardback
10% E-book
3% Word processor manuscript

Note that the single book I bought in a physical store was a copy of a friend’s new book at its release party…


  1. #1 Victor
    April 21, 2012

    This post may be a marketers dream come true!

  2. #2 Martin R
    April 21, 2012

    Yes, it shows them they should try to outlaw the giving of used paperbacks as presents.

  3. #3 Birger Johansson
    April 21, 2012

    The “access” part will shift with time. I used to borrow 1-2 books from the school library every day. Library use only declined after I had exhausted the books about my favourite interests or by my favourite authors (this is how you define a true geek). As a weenie lad, I exhausted all titles by “B. Wahlströms Pojkböcker” including the translations of blatantly racist Enid Blython books. This is why I know crooks always speak with a foreign accent.

    If you want a big hardback book, check for cheap used copies at Brit Amazon (amazon.co.uk) -even with the postage they are usually a bargain.
    PS I am disappointed there were no Iron Sky nazis about for 4/20. Chickens.

  4. #4 Birger Johansson
    April 24, 2012

    (OT) Marine archaeology Down Under: “A step towards solving a maritime mystery” http://phys.org/news/2012-04-maritime-mystery.html

  5. #5 Martin R
    April 24, 2012

    It’s always mysteries, mysteries and mysteries when the media report on archaeology.

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