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Australian Romance Readers Survey 2019: results

4 December 2019

The Australian Romance Readers Survey for 2019 was launched on 15 August and closed on 30 September.

A total of 339 people responded to the survey (up from 299 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 (127), with high rates for Vic (72) and Qld (60). Next was WA (36), ACT (18) and SA (20). The NT had 3 respondents and Tas just 2. The percentages of all these are very similar to those from the 2018 survey.
  • This year we had 5 male respondents (up from 3 last year).
  • The age range for respondents trended older again this year, with more than 65% of respondents over 45 years, and no respondents under 20 years.
  • Facebook remains the preferred social media platform at 92.58% (down from 94.4% last year). Goodreads was second at 68.25% (up from 64.1%), followed by Instagram at 59.64% (up from 53.3%), Twitter at 44.21% (down from 47.7% last year) and Pinterest at 38.58% (down from 42.86%). Similar to last year, 33% of respondents have their own website or blog.
  • 82.53% of respondents said that 50% or more of the books they read are romances (80.3% last year), with 11.75% saying all the books they read are romances (down from 17.9% last year).
  • Available reading time is still hard to find, with 56.04% of respondents reading only 1–2 hours a day (57.2% in 2018); 30.96% of respondents did manage 3–4 hours a day (down from 32.6% last year), with 11.76% reading 5–6 hours a day. Four lucky respondents said they read romances more than 7 hours a day!
  • For many readers there was a rise in the number of romances read, with 40.66% of respondents saying they read less than 5 romances a month (compared with 44.7% in 2018), and 12.05% of respondents saying they read more than 15 romances a month (up from 11.3% in 2018).
  • The most popular sub-genre this year was again contemporary romance, read by 82.01% of respondents (80.6% last year), followed by historical romance (64.94%), romantic suspense (56.40%), romantic comedy (53.05%, up from 45.9% last year) and rural romance (49.39%). Just outside the top 5 again were paranormal romance (48.48%, up from 45.2%) and erotic romance (42.68%, down from 43.4%).

  • In response to the question about which one sub-genre is read most often, contemporary romance was again in front at 26.23% (up from 24.6% last year). A distant second was paranormal romance at 13.89% (similar to 13.4% last year), then rural romance at 11.73% (down from 12.0% last year), and historical romance at 10.80% (down from 14.1%). There was a drop for erotic romance at 4.01% (5.4% in 2018), but small rises for romantic suspense at 8.64% (6.9% in 2018), traditional Regency at 6.17% (3.6% in 2018), new adult at 1.85% (1.4% in 2018), and YA at 1.85% (1.4% in 2018).
  • This was the third year that we asked respondents whether they read mainly traditionally or self-published authors. ‘Traditionally published’ was at 39.80% (down from 42.5% in 2018) and ‘hybrid’ was at 37.04% (up from 36.7%), with 10.8% reading mainly self-published authors (down from 11.5%).
  • Ebooks were once again the most frequently purchased book format, accounting for more than double the purchases of all paper formats combined. The chart below shows a small increase for mass market purchases (20.44%, compared with 20.1% in 2018), while ebook purchases rose (65.4%, up from 60.2% in 2018). Trade paperbacks were down (10.38%, compared with 15.0% in 2018), with audio books up slightly (3.46%, compared with 3.3% in 2018).

  • Respondents who indicated they don’t read ebooks at all was up at 10.53% (8.8% in 2018), suggesting the survey reached a slightly different audience again this year.
  • Buying paper books is still low, with 57.50% of respondents buying less than 5 new paper romance books a month (57.8% last year); only 7 respondents buy more than 10 new paper books a month. The number who don’t buy any new paper books each month has remained the same at 33.13% (33.1% in 2018).
  • When comparing ebook purchases to paper books, 66.45% of respondents said more than half of all books they buy are ebooks (up from 64.8% in 2018); 13.29% of respondents buy only paper books (up from 11.4%); and 24.68% buy only ebooks (down from 26.4%).
  • Just under half of respondents own an ebook reader of some sort, with only a few using more than one device. The Kindle was still the most popular device by far (100 respondents), with Kindle Paperwhite the most popular model. Other devices mentioned were Kobo (18) and iPad (11).
  • A new question last year was ‘Do you review books? (including leaving reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc)’. The results were: Frequently, 25.47% (compared with 26.18% in 2018); Occasionally, 49.69% (46.55% in 2018); Never, 24.84% (27.27% in 2018).

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

[This article first appeared in the ARRA newsletter in Nov 2019.]

One Comment
  1. Malvina Y permalink
    7 December 2019 8:17 am

    Thankyou! Fascinating! Malvina

    On Wed, 4 Dec 2019 at 5:44 pm, Australian Romance Readers Association wrote:

    > arrawebmaster posted: “The Australian Romance Readers Survey for 2019 was > launched on 15 August and closed on 30 September. A total of 339 people > responded to the survey (up from 299 last year). You can download the full > results HERE, but here’s a look at some of the inte” >

Comments are closed.