There are many ways to look at these numbers and with time, I hope a fascinating tapestry of the book blogging world will emerge. These statistics are for the book blogging community as a whole and therefore passing the message and statistics along is very much encouraged. Feel free to contact me ([the name of this blog] at [gmail]) with any questions, comments, complaints, etc. Once again, a most sincere thank you to all participants. This would have been impossible without all of you.
The Blogger, dry results:
The initial male/female breakdown I guessed when compiling the book blogger database came out to approximately 60:20, where 20% came out to be blogs with multiple writers or writers of unknown gender. The actual survey results showed numbers that seemed to follow this trend even as they tilted more towards Female. Instead, taking into account the essentially nonexistent number of "Decline to State" bloggers (1 respondent), the final numbers came out as 83% Female and 17% Male.
Participants were a tad less likely to share their age - 3 book bloggers voted "Decline to State". Meanwhile, the results showed a surprisingly varied range in age with one notable exception - book bloggers are not senior citizens. 13 respondents, meanwhile, admitted to being minors, suggesting that the "young people don't read" theory is quite a bit of nonsense (I invite these 13 to offer their own views on the matter).
Literary Studies Background:
This question was meant to help understand how many book bloggers are so-called "well-read" - have studied the great works, have learned how to manipulate the depths of "Ulysses", and so on. The results were actually fairly, shall we say, boring. It was essentially an even split between just plain higher education courses and a literary degree.
I will be perfectly honest: I did not expect these results. I expected many more "decline to state"s (only 2%) and fewer "none"s (a clear 86%majority). More interesting were the freehand comments people left - asking questions such as whether free ARCs from publishers count as "affiliation", for instance.
The Blog, dry results:
I've long suspected that I'm in the minority regarding reviews. When I first started this blog, I decided to separate between book reviews and book thoughts. Though I sometimes write and publish reviews, I do not associate them with this blog. Soon after creating this blog, I realized that I was pretty much alone in this mentality. Almost every book blog I encountered was some form of a review blog. With time, I found many blogs that were different - publisher blogs, news blogs, and a few others that seemed to fall into no clear category. The survey shows essentially this: 73% view their blog as a "review blog", with only 14% explicitly pointing out that their blog is not for reviewing. The remaining 12% are unsure regarding the definition or don't want to apply a label. One respondent wrote "about half", another described it as "reviews and opinions on literature in general".
Genre specialization, and if so:This number surprised me. I expected a lot more than 31% of blogs to be genre specific. 64%, however, do not view their blog as genre specific, and curiously enough, only 5% weren't sure how to answer or wanted to elaborate (the big bonus of having an "Other _____" option). But here's an interesting point - while a significant majority of blogs don't specialize, 9 respondents who answered either "Other" or "No" then offered a possible genre. And one genre seemed to lead the pack in terms of specialization - more on these two topics later.
This one was surprising too, but in a slightly different way. 14% seemingly don't do news, while an additional 28% pretty much never post about book-world news. Not a majority, but a surprisingly strong block. 32% occasionally post about book-related news stories, 1-2 a month. 13% are casual posters of news, discussing these matters once or twice a week while 8% are a little more hard-core - 3-7 times a week. A tiny sliver, 1%, post extremely frequently about news - 8 or more times a week. 3% declined to state. These numbers indicate diversity among book bloggers, and fall in a rather standardly shaped bell curve. It appears that the average blogger writes posts relating to book world news on a monthly basis.
Memes:This one was... less surprising. 25% of bloggers have seemingly never touched a meme with a ten foot pole, 26% rarely participate in them, and 17% occasionally (but perhaps not too regularly) participate in memes. 24%, meanwhile, regularly do memes - probably a couple weekly meme features. 4% are fairly big meme fans, participating in memes 3-7 times a week. No blogger goes too far, though - no one does more than 8 memes a week. 3% declined to state.
Review frequency:We already know book bloggers are overwhelmingly reviewers. 51% of bloggers post reviews 6 or more times a month, with only 3% never publishing reviews. Which, placed alongside the earlier question, reveals that quite a few of the "Not a review blog" replies are most likely of blogs with an interesting mix of reviews, news, thoughts and anything else. 13% of respondents publish reviews 1-2 a month, 30% get out a fair number of reviews per month at 3-5, and a quiet 2% declined to state.
Blog challenges:Fairly even, balanced responses. 38% participate in no challenges, 26% do 1 or 2 a year, 24%
participate in a fairly large range of challenges of 3 to 10, while 11% go long with 11 or more challenges per year. 1% declined to state.
The dry numbers for this question do not actually provide much information, but upon closer (upcoming) examination, reveal a few interesting points. 61% participate in no book tours, 14% currently host 1 tour on their blog, 15% do 2-3, and 10% do 4 or more. 1% declined to state.
Truth be told, I really didn't expect these numbers. Only 31% of bloggers were part of a book club in the past year, while 68% were not (and 1 participant declined to state). My impression had always been that, despite my disinterest in the field, most book bloggers actively participated in book clubs. Perhaps a distinction was made between online book clubs and the flesh-and-blood variety? Or perhaps book clubs simply aren't ubiquitously popular. 31% is a respectable sum, after all.
A not so surprising set of numbers, on its own. 34% of book bloggers never give book away on their blogs, 37% have the rare, yearly giveaway, 19% conduct once or twice a month giveaways, 6% have giveaways 3-5 times a month, and 1% are frequent book giveaway-ers at 6+ giveaways a month. 3% declined to state.
Another set of fairly balanced results, with the possibility of multiple answers - 31% give no books away, 35% give away ARCs (advance reading copies), 49% give away personal copies of books, 48% host publisher giveaways, 5% listed other and 2% declined to state. Interestingly enough, the number of those who give no books away did not exactly match the previous result - 31% as opposed to 34%.
Receiving ARCs (advance reading copies):
There were a few interesting freehand responses to this question, a rather surprising occurrence. 16% of survey participants receive no ARCs, 21% receive the rare advanced reader's copy while 17% receive 5-10 books a year. An additional 17% get 11-20 ARCs, and a solid 26% get at least 21 ARCs a year. 4% declined to state. Comments left, however, indicated that there was a slight problem with the phrasing of this question - more on that later.
And now for something a little different. First off, 8% of respondents are not registered in any kind of book-oriented social networking sites, clearly a book blogger minority. In the bookstore/exchange sites, the numbers are mostly expected: 45% of survey participants are registered at Amazon, 24% at BookMooch, a small at IndieBound, and an additional 18% at Paperback Swap. Meanwhile, in the more social networking area, 24% of respondents are members of Shelfari, 65% at Goodreads, 57% at LibraryThing, and 40% at Book Blogs Ning. 7% filled in "Other", offering sites such as Bookblips, Twitter and Facebook, including many others (more on this later). 1% declined to state. The fun thing about this question is that it became something of a race as more and more book bloggers filled out the survey. What exactly was the race? Stay tuned!
Guess what, fellow book bloggers? You know all those "eReaders are taking over!" articles? Book bloggers are pretty serious readers, and yet a clear majority of 71% do not own any kind of eReader. Meanwhile, among those who do, there is a fairly obvious leader, though not by as large a margin as one might expect: Amazon's Kindle 2 leads the pack with 8% of respondents owning one. Meanwhile, 4% own the Kindle 1 and 2% own the Kindle DX. iPhone eReader apps seem pretty popular too: 5% have the Kindle app. 5% have different eReader apps. In Sony land, the PRS-500, PRS-505, and PRS-300 all received 2% ownership. The PRS-700 and PRS-600 both received 1% popularity. 1 respondent owns a Sony PRS-900. 1%, meanwhile, own the Barnes & Noble Nook. 3% own other eReaders, listing examples like Aluratek's Libre or Elonex's eBooks, two eReaders I personally had never heard of. It's important to keep in mind a few points which will be developed further in later posts: 1. The survey was pre-iPad, so results might be a little different today, 2. People upgrade eReaders and in several cases, people who had one eReader also had another (this applies for apps as well), and 3. Many, many participants felt the need to comment on their desire (or lack thereof) of purchasing eReaders.
When looking at the percentages, one must keep in mind that the overall number of male respondents was significantly lower than that of female, and therefore all statistics should be taken with a grain of salt.
Compared here are the age breakdowns by gender. The first noticeable distinction is the lack of significantly young men - 18 to 24 year olds account for 10% of respondents, while the majority find themselves in middle age, totaling to 54% between the ages of 30 and 49. Women, on the other hand, are a little more... predictable. The graph shows a simple bell curve, where the largest age group is 30-39 with 35% of respondents. Meanwhile, 16% of respondents are under 25.
Women follow the general trend fairly reliably - 40% with "literary" degrees, 40% having taken college courses, and 17% having only the basics. With men, meanwhile, just under half took college courses, while again 40% have "literary" degrees. Only 12% come with the minimum.
Rather different results. 56% of men never participate in memes, while only 18% of women never do memes. For women, the numbers are fairly evenly spaced with 30% doing 1-2 memes a week, 19% 1-2 a month, and 25% 1-2 a year. 5% participate in memes 3-7 times a week, as opposed to 0 male respondents. These numbers indicate rather clearly that memes are far more common among women book bloggers than men, though men are not entirely averse to it. Still, an interesting distinction.
55% of female book bloggers participate in no book tours, as opposed to 88% of men. 4% of men for each of the other options - in this case, 1 respondent for each case. Women, meanwhile, are slightly more varied - 11% participate in 4 or more, 17% in 2-3, and 16% in 1 book tour. Taking into account the significantly smaller number of male respondents, though, the two graphs appear to be quite similar. A clear majority don't participate in book tours while the remaining split up fairly well regarding how many tours they do.