Marketing to Women Readers: The Books of the Future

August 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

On the occasion of my 100th Lipstick Economy post and my first week of owning an iPad, I feel compelled to write a little about the future of books.  

While contemplating the purchase of my first book for the iPad, I started thinking about the physical nature of books and how they fit into my life.  Will the iPad replace the stack of five books by my bedside?

There have been so many important announcements about books recently that it’s overwhelming.   Here are just a few that I think you should read:

A really interesting take on books from NPR last week talks about the rapid death of paper-based books but also the self expressive nature of some books as a social display and the community to be built from such a group.

An announcement from Seth Godin that Linchpin is the last book he will publish in a traditional way.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announcement that Amazon sells 180 e-books for every 100 hardbacks.

Stanford threw away books to make room for more library.

More than three million iPads have been sold in 80 days, blending the e-reader with a really cool tablet that may replace laptops in the future.

So since women are major purchasers of books, what is going on in her world?  A study published by Content Connections in 2007 offers some interesting facts about women book buyers.

The average American women who belongs to a social network spends around $500 a year on books.

She’s 45, with an average $88,535 income, has a college degree, works outside the home and belongs to at least one professional, service or civic organization.

She buys 28 books per year, for herself and others (read family and friends).

One-third of her book purchases are online but she likes to visit her local bookstore and spends 39.2 minutes per visit.

She get book recommendations from friends and associates.

What does this say about the future of books?  An overwhelming number of books are still purchased as gifts.  You can’t give a coffee table book or an art book to someone digitally, but you can give a gift card that can be used online.

There are probably two or three categories of books that will shake out —

Books I need to read for professional reasons but may never finish – e-book

Reference books and textbooks – e-book

Books that I want to keep and cherish – Hardcopy

Books that I want to give to someone – Hardcopy

Books that I don’t want anyone to know that I read like cheesy detective novels – e-book

Books that I want people to know that I am reading because it makes me look smart – Hardcopy/Paperback

Books that will withstand sunlotion, sand and drops of water – Paperback

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months as e-readers battle it out.  Whatever happens, there will still be a place for the hand-held book, as well as the digital book.

Got a good recommendation for a book?

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