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Ever since I’ve been blogging (and from looking at my archives, I’ve been blogging since 2007 (which, wow)), the question has come up: But do book blogs even SELL books? Does anyone take that recommendation to a store and BUY a book? Book bloggers and have been pounding their fist on the table insisting, YES! Books are being bought based on OUR recommendations. Unfortunately, all of the proof has been anecdotal.

Until now.

I was reading the latest issue of Shelf Awareness (a newsletter primarily for bookstores/booksellers) when I stumbled across a survey of consumer purchasing behavior. Obviously this survey was done specifically for bookstores — information such as whether more men or women bought books, their socioeconomic standing, etc. One of the questions asked was readers’ principle ways of finding out about new titles. Personal recommendations account for 49.2%, bookstore staff recommendations account for 30.8%, and if you continue reading, it turns out that 12.1% of readers polled find out about new titles from blogs.


That’s huge. That’s a big enough chunk of the pie to have to have a piece of the pie showing blogs as a possibility. I don’t think any blogger claimed that they had more influence than, say, a bookseller at a local bookstore, but we do, in fact, have influence.

Obviously I didn’t need proof before now since I already knew this from experience, but it’s kinda nice to have it.

You can see the whole survey here, and the Shelf Awareness article here.

And just in case you can’t get the words too legit, too legit to quit hey hey


24 Responses to “Legit”

  1. Sandy ()

    That is awesome. I love that we have a number now. But we all know in our hearts that we are selling books. Over and over again we are told that we have influenced people to go out and buy something. I never stop recommending. Have a hit list in my pocket, so if someone asks at the gym, the school, the grocery story, or even while I am browsing at Barnes & Noble, I can rattle off a few titles. Yay us!


    trish Reply:

    Yup! I’ve had people tell me they bought a book based on my review, so I KNEW blogs sold books. I was never even worried about whether we’d ever have proof or not, but now we do!


  2. bermudaonion (Kathy) ()

    How did I miss that article? I read it on SA and noticed that they said, “Much less important are online algorithms (16%), blogs (12.1%) and social networks (11.8%).”


    trish Reply:

    Yeah. And I get for them, those things ARE much less important. But for bloggers it IS important. Obviously different audiences will take away different things from that survey.


  3. stacybuckeye ()

    This is great. It’s nice to justify all of the books that publishers send us!


  4. Beth F ()

    I too missed that SA stat. I must have skimmed the issue that day. Yay us.


  5. zibilee ()

    I have always wondered about this. I know that most of the books I buy or put on my wish list come from recommendations from other bloggers, but I had no idea if I was the anomaly or if this was going on with others as well. I am so glad to hear that the percentage is so high! It makes me feel like what I do actually matters! Thanks for posting this today, Trish!


  6. The Avid Reader ()

    I know for me personally, a HUGE number of the books I read are based on recommendations from book review blogs… as I’m reading through my Google Reader, I keep a tab open with Amazon and add books to my wish list. Every few weeks, I order some books from my (never ending!) list. Obviously that list includes authors I already read, books I find on my own, books friends have mentioned… but it also includes A LOT of books I heard about on book review blogs.

    Talk about feeling validated. I love my little book review blog and I’m glad to feel like it has a purpose beyond my own enjoyment. 🙂


  7. Kathleen

    Wow, this is really gratifying for those of us that work on our blogs and like to hope that people will actually want to read something based on our recommendations. Thanks for sharing this with us!


  8. Cheree

    most of the books I read are from blog recommendations (and I am one who tries to read 52 books every year, so no small feat).


  9. Julie@my5monkeys ()

    I have known people to buy books from my recommendation and I know that knowing about book blogs I get some recommendations from other bloggers.

    I trust my friends reviews over that of a magazine 🙂


  10. Ellen Ekstrom ()

    Bloggers have replaced the print review venues, I believe, as daily newspapers cut back. As our society becomes imcreasingly digital the choice of reviews has expanded. I tend to pay credence to a review at a blog site, Goodreads, LibraryThing before an Amazon review due to the vote-down feature of reviews at Amazon. I’ve read more honest and substantive reviews on the bloggers’ sites.


  11. Amused ()

    Hey that is pretty darn cool! I am so glad to know that!


  12. Nancy Taylor ()

    I remember where I was sitting when I had my epiphane, “Hey! Why don’t I blog about books! Maybe I will even score a few FREE books! I am reading anyway. It won’t take any more time to have abook blog!”

    Ah. The follies of youth. Takes up very little time at all. SNORT! After two years, I can boast free books as payment in many cases. It’s like a part time job in addiction. I. Just. Can. Not. Stop.

    However, I am proud to announce that I have found a way to make this work to my advantage in other areas. A teenage girl has offered to clean my house if I pay her in books. I hope she never gets a real job.


    trish Reply:

    I think you’ve just earned The Smartest Person in the World award!


  13. Karen M.

    I love book bloggers! I have found, read and enjoyed SO SO SO many new books that I never would have known about. I am grateful to you!


  14. Davina MW

    Based on our surveys at BookBrowse (most recent in 2011 with a sample of 2500), I suspect that the 12% from Verso’s survey is actually on the low side as people who are regulars at more personal sites, such as blogs, often consider the recommendations to be personal. So depending on exactly how the question was phrased, my guess is that at least a few percent of the 49% who answered “personal recommendations” will have been thinking of blogs when they said that!
    — Davina, BookBrowse Editor


  15. Bookfool, aka Nancy ()

    I wonder if some of those “personal recommendations” are fellow bloggers recommending to each other. You know we have to be buying an awfully big chunk because we’re serious addicts.

    Oh, I see someone else just said that! LOL Well, I’ll go ahead and post this. Thanks for sharing, Trish. I am currently deleting SA newsletters to keep myself from requesting books I don’t have time to read. I have to get drastic with myself, sometimes.


    trish Reply:

    I know what you mean, Nancy, about having to delete the SA newsletters. I’ve stopped looking at any of the ads and only read the articles. Haha. Insert Playboy joke here.


  16. Bookish links for Saturday, January 28, 2012 | BOOKS AND MOVIES

    […] Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?: Legit – Survey says people buy books after reading about them on book blogs. Who knew? ~wink~ All […]

  17. StephTheBookworm ()

    Woo! Yeah! That’s great! Thanks for sharing. 🙂


  18. Lisa

    Yea! Nice to know someone out there is paying attention to us!


  19. Aths ()

    Woot! I’m so excited to see that we have some statistics now! I somehow missed this survey in the newsletter, so I’m glad that you posted about it.


  20. Biblibio

    I’ve often wondered about this – wonderful to see some clear statistics. My impression has always been that blog recommendations primarily assist those who read those specific blogs, but I’ve recently found myself searching online for reviews before purchasing certain books and stumbling across blogs I’d never encountered before, suggesting that perhaps others (non-bloggers) are doing the same… Thank you for sharing this – all quite fascinating!


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