How do readers discover books?

Based on Nielsen’s Books and Consumers data, seeing a book while browsing/searching in a library, shop or catalogue, on a website or device, was still the top discovery method. Books discovered through this method accounted for 29% of all purchases – nearly half of these were books discovered in a bookshop, with just over a third (37%) being via a book website, and ‘other online’ accounting for most of the rest.

Browsing therefore remains a key path to purchase for book buyers – and relies on the appropriate metadata being available to support online browsing, discovery and purchase.

Awareness of the author or series was the next most common way of discovering books – for nearly one in five purchases – with recommendation/review not far behind. Of books discovered through recommendation/review, nearly half (44%) were down to word of mouth recommendation, with discovery online accounting for around two in five of these purchases, and newspaper/magazine reviews or recommendations around one in ten.

Once again we see that information available online, such as a review, plays a key role in book sales – and an increase in the number of descriptive metadata elements attached to a title correlates with higher resulting sales.

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