Who's Buying Self-Help Books?

We’ve just released the first of three consumer studies that review the attitudes and behaviour of Canadian book buyers in 2013. The first in the series, The Canadian Book Consumer 2013: In-Depth Reader Profiles, concentrates on developing a more granular understanding of book consumers by genre, focusing on eleven of the top-selling fiction and non-fiction genres. 

Demographics of Self-Help Book Buyers

In our exploration of demographics, buying habits, and awareness we find that not all book buyers are created equal—buyers of each genre have their own own distinct patterns and habits. Looking specifically at the Self-Help category, we find the following:

  • Readers tend to be younger, with 73% under the age of 45.

  • Overall sales of print books are fairly consistent throughout the year, with the exception of the holiday jump in December, which carries over into January.

  • Purchases are predominantly planned, with 62% of purchases of a specific title being planned and one quarter of purchases being unplanned.

  • The majority of purchases take place in chain bookstores (28%) or online (25%), with minimal purchases taking place in traditional bookstores (6%).

  • Just under 4% of Self-Help book buyers found their title through a magazine ad, which compares to less than 1% of average book buyers. Just under 16% discovered their book through a friend’s recommendation and 6% discovered their title through mention on a bestseller list—this is more than the 4% average for book buyers.

Self-Help – Purchases by Channel

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Self-Help – Impulse vs. Planned Purchases

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In The Canadian Book Consumer 2013: In-Depth Reader Profiles you will find more information on Self-Help book buyers:

  • Demographics (age, marital status, do they live in urban or rural areas?)

  • Where they find out about books

  • What formats they predominantly purchase

  • Week-by-week sales trending of print books for each category

Besides Self-Help, the following ten categories are also explored in depth: Biography & Autobiography, Business & Economics, Cooking, Health & Fitness, History, Religion, Espionage & Thriller, Fantasy, Mystery & Detective, and Romance.

View our Meet the Average Canadian Book-Buyer Infographic to see more of the data available in the study. For more information and to purchase, visit www.booknetcanada.ca/consumer-studies.