Marie Force Blog

The Results Are In: 2015 Reader Survey

With nearly 6,000 respondents–twice as many as in 2013–readers have let us know their thoughts on a wide range of topics. We discovered that ebooks are still hot, Amazon and iBooks are growing, Nook is down a little, most readers aren’t jumping to join subscriber services and Facebook remains the primary way that readers connect with their favorite authors.

Click here to read an executive summary of the results.

Click here to view the summary in table format.

Click here to review the raw data.

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  • July 21, 2015
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  • Laura Haines

    This is really interesting. Thanks for sharing the results!

  • Margaret

    Thanks for sharing the results. Some of the percentages I agree with yet others I don’t but it at least this lets you know what other readers are doing & thinking.

  • Cam Piscopo Keener

    Some surprises there. Thanks for sharing!

  • Denise Carpenter

    🙂 Thank you for sharing the results!

  • Pamela Clare

    Thanks for this. Very interesting.

  • Wow, thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  • Avonna Kershey

    I love when reports like this come out even though I am not a writer. I find them very interesting.

  • Cathryn Cade


    Thanks so much for sharing! Happy to know many other romance readers are like me – a free first book is a great draw. Also happy to see your data disproves the theory that by having 1st in series free, we’ve created a culture of readers who expect all books to be free. I felt that was true, now I can point to data.

  • Glynnis Campbell

    Great, interesting, useful information. Thank you so much, Marie, for heading this up!

  • DeAnna Cameron

    Incredible resource. Thank you!

  • Kim Dunk

    The survey was interesting but I noticed that Kobo ereader users were quite small. Is this because it’s mostly used in the UK? Is it worth putting in a question as to where your readers come from? My answers to pricing of books requires me to convert currencies but from the look of things we pay more for our ebooks than you do in the US.

  • Monica Burns

    Interesting and valuable figures, Marie. I find it disheartening that Facebook is the primary way readers find new authors with Facebook making discoverability so difficult for us. The low newsletter rate is also discouraging. But that romance readers are foregoing KU and other subscription service is a major bright point.

    • Arial Burnz

      Let’s see if I can give you a little bit of hope about what you mentioned here, Monica. Facebook as a primary way readers find new authors, my experience has shown me, has more to do with personal recommendations and books found through groups readers belong to. Buy-my-book posts have never really been effective and my own personal experience – and via the many complaints I hear from my peers – is that all the time spent on Facebook marketing our books is next to useless. As always, word of mouth and personal recommendations are what sells books…and I think that’s what people are using Facebook for. The hope in that is this: You won’t need to spend so much time marketing on Facebook. Use it, instead, to interact with your current fans AND drive people to join your mailing list/newsletter instead.

      However, you noted that the newsletter received a low ranking. If you look closer at the survey results, the question was “Readers’ primary source of information about BOOKS” is 9%, BUT “Readers’ primary source of information about AUTHORS” is 45%! It’s that figure that generates sales for authors. The mailing list is where readers will know immediately when their favorite author has their next book release and can rush out to buy it. The newsletter is not for discovering new books about other authors but knowing more about the authors they already love. So I hope you’re not giving up on building your mailing list/author platform. The best discoverability is through getting people to sign up for our list.

      Our time as authors is much better spent building our author platform – our ready-to-buy fans who can’t wait for that next book to come out. So in reality, the figures in this survey are very hopeful indeed as we can now better focus our time on what matters.

      I hope this helps!!

  • Liz Donatelli

    Incredibly useful findings. Thank you, Marie!

  • Pamela Cowan

    Thank you so much for freely sharing this information. You’re amazing!

  • Vicky Dreiling

    Interesting, Marie. I have no idea how/why my Pinterest averages slightly 10K viewers per month. I use Pinterest like a collage for my historical romances. I just used it for my own purposes and voila! You never know what might work with social media. Thanks for sharing and hope you’re doing well! Cheers!

  • 2deuces

    This is very actionable information. Thank you. Some of the answers are a surprise like the growth in Erotic Romance and the low use of Twitter to learn about new books. This is Golden information for those who want to improve their marketing efforts. Many, many thanks. (Is there more information about how the survey was distributed?)

    Robert Doucette

  • L. J. Taylor

    This is very useful and valuable information. Thank you very much for sharing it with us..

  • Lisa Lang-Blakeney

    Definitely confirmed for me that I need to focus social media efforts on Facebook and building my email list. Also, was surprised about the average ebook price point most people expect to pay. Nice to see $4.99. I thought it was lower.

  • The editor in me was a bit miffed that in the executive summary she said: “Editors won’t be pleased to hear that 32 percent of readers aren’t bothered by typos.”

    I find it funny that the author neglected to mention that 23.5% said typos drive them mad, 8.5% said if the editing isn’t good in the first book that they’re done forever with that author, 27% said they *might* give the author a second chance, and almost 9% said it depends on the number / nature of the errors, felt the need to expound on just HOW MUCH they hate them, and a couple even said it makes them think the author was lazy.

    I mean, to say that 32% of readers don’t care and just leave it at that seems disingenuous to me. And yes–that was a question I notice right off the bat 😉

  • Cara Bristol

    Great info! Wish you had a photo posted here, I would have pinned it on my writing board.

  • Stephanie Queen

    Thank you for this comprehensive and excellent survey. I appreciate the effort and hard work that went into preparing this and putting it out there for us all. There’s lots of interesting and potentially useful information here.
    One thing I think I will need to account for in my analysis though, is the method used to recruit responses. This appeared to be done by various authors substantially through social media platforms, like Facebook, and author newsletters. I believe this may have influenced the outcome of the answers to the questions about what the readers’ source of book/author information is (which turned out to be Facebook and author newsletters). Just something to consider in the analysis of the data, before making decisions.
    In the past, it’s always been other readers’ recommendations and author name recognition that largely influenced book purchase decisions and I would love to know to what extent that is still true. It appears this could be changing due to the ease of trying out books/new authors at little or no cost.
    Looks like readers are more daring these days, and not as influenced by ratings, reviews and book bloggers as before.

    Thanks again for all this food for thought!

  • AnaERoss

    Marie, thank you very much for spending the time and effort to run the survey and compile the results into an informative and easy-to-understand format. I know what I need to be doing to become even more successful and reach more readers and keep the ones I already have.
    Ana E Ross

  • I really enjoyed this survey and learned a lot, especially since I write mostly novellas. I’m surprised to see anthologies weren’t mentioned in pricing, but I guess that’ because some genres are more predisposed to it than others.

  • tamazonias

    Thanks so much for sharing this data

  • Thanks so much for this data! AS indie authors this si exactly what we are needing!

  • Great survey… thank you. As an Australian-based erotic romance author, I’m interested to know if you have any data regarding the geographical locations of the respondents. Were they mainly from the USA or scattered world-wide? Thanks…

  • What about other genres? What about a first free in thrillers or fantasy?

  • Hi Marie! It looks like the first two links here no longer work. Just wanted to let you know!

    • Julie Cupp

      Thanks for bringing this up, Diana. I was able to update the links so they should work now. If not, let me know at

  • S.C. McCole

    Wicked Awesome.
    This data is priceless. Thanks. You and your team are rock stars!
    I wonder though—because the survey was canvassed out through authors and the female readership dominates—what percentage of the survey distributor’s were romance (and erotica) writers?

    FB is clearly top dog for those genres if I look at my wall (and writerly friends) and in the recent report, so it would be if the bulk of the survey authors were romance.


Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the indie-published Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series. In 2019, her new historical Gilded series from Kensington Books will debut with Duchess By Deception.

All together, her books have sold 6.5 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list many times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Speigel bestseller in Germany, a frequent speaker and publishing workshop presenter as well as a publisher through her Jack’s House Publishing romance imprint. She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for romance fiction.

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

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