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Australian Romance Readers Survey 2016: results

17 November 2016

The Australian Romance Readers Survey for 2016 was launched on
15 August and closed on 30 September. A total of 275 people responded to the survey (down slightly from 294 last year).

You can download the full results HERE, but here’s a look at some of the interesting results:

  • The majority of respondents were from NSW (91), with high rates for Vic (68) and Qld (45). Next was WA (24), SA (22) and ACT (18). Tas had 1 respondent and the NT none. The percentages of all these are similar to those from the 2015 survey, with a slight dip in responses from Qld, Tas and WA and a higher response rate from ACT, NSW and Vic.
  • This year we had only 1 male respondent (down from 4 last year).
  • The age range for respondents trended younger this year, with an increase in respondents aged under 35 years and a decrease in the 36 to 45 age group.
  • Facebook remains the preferred social media platform at 90.3%. Goodreads was second at 67.8%, followed by Twitter at 65.2%, Pinterest at 49.1% and Instagram at 41.9%.
  • 78.1% of respondents said that 50% or more of the books they read are romances (down slightly from last year), with 13.3% saying all the books they read are romances (also down from last year).
  • Available reading time is still hard to find, with 63.1% of respondents reading only 1–2 hours a day (61.2% in 2015). But 30% of respondents did manage 3–4 hours a day. (Three lucky respondents said they read romances more than 7 hours a day!)
  • There was also a drop in the number of romances read, with 44.8% of respondents saying they read less than 5 romances a month (compared with 39.7% in 2015), and 9.2% reading more than 15 romances (11% in 2015).
  • The most popular sub-genre this past year was again contemporary romance, read by 84.5% of respondents (up from 79.9% last year), followed by historical romance (62.5%), paranormal romance (56.8%, up from 48.1%) and romantic suspense (52.7%, down from 55.5%).
  • Erotica dropped again this year to 46.6% (down from 51.9%), as did rural romance (43.6%, down from 53.7% last year), taking both of these sub-genres out of our top 5.


  • The new entry in our top 5 genres this year was chick lit at 47.7% (up from 32.9% in 2015).
  • In response to the question about which one sub-genre is read most often, contemporary romance was way in front at 29.4% (up from 22.6% last year). A distant second was paranormal romance at 11.5% (up from 8.1% in 2015), with historical romance next at 9.5% (up from 8.5%).
  • There was a significant drop for rural romance, down to 5.7% (24% in 2015), and erotic romance at 4.2% (8.5% in 2015). There was a notable increase for YA at 8.4% (1.8% in 2015). Of course these changes could all be due to a change in the demographics of respondents.
  • Also worth noting is that chick lit only made up 1.1% as the ‘most read’ sub-genre, indicating more people are reading a little chick lit, not a lot.
  • Ebooks have continued as the most frequently purchased book format, now accounting for nearly double the purchases of all other formats combined. The chart below shows the continuing decline of mass market purchases (68.8% in 2009, falling to 24.9% in 2016) while ebook purchases rose (up from 10.2% in 2009 to 62.3% in 2016).


  • Rate of respondents who own an ereader or tablet device was exactly the same as last year at 75.6%; respondents who indicated they don’t read ebooks at all went up slightly to 10.9% (8.5% in 2015).
  • The Kindle was still by far the most popular ereading device (about 100 respondents), compared with iPad (18) and Kobo (16).
  • Buying of paper books is down again this year, with 89.9% buying less than 5 new paper romance books a month (88% last year); only one respondent buys more than 10 new paper books a month. The number who don’t buy any new paper books each month has held fairly steady at 29.7% in 2016 (29.2% in 2015).
  • When comparing ebook purchases to paper books, 60.9% of respondents said more than half of all books they buy are ebooks; this is down from 63.4% last year.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill in the survey.


One Comment
  1. 28 November 2016 6:14 pm

    What interesting results!
    Great job to everyone involved!

Comments are closed.

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