Links and Random Data

Data and deals, we have! 

First: Rainbow Romance Writers are doing a survey of romance readers and asked me to pass along the link to you. I enquired what the survey data was going to used for, and they told me, “we're mostly just gathering intel. It's sort of piggybacking off of the survey that RWA did recently but with a few more specific questions, with some focus on LGBT romance, although we're looking for a pretty broad range of responses. Some of what we do with what we find will depend on what the data reveals, but we may use the findings in chapter literature and in public advocacy with vendors and the media. (And responses are anonymous.)” If you're interested in participating or looking at the questions, the survey is online.


If you missed this: Cakewrecks featured a confection that totally ought to make an appearance in a romance novel, if not on the cover itself!

GeekMom's Corrina Lawson wrote about the Boner Donor Bingo game I ran at Romantic Times last Saturday. We registered over 50 new people for the bone marrow registry, and when I spoke with the folks from DKMS, they were thrilled. Thank you to everyone who provided prizes, in-person assistance, or helped me spread the word! 

Tina C. sent me this link, with a note, “Hey! I'm from Lexington!” The Atlantic posted data from Priceonomics about sales of Amazon Kindle devices by city. Nook sales were examined, but “didn't change the results.” Then there was some references to  judgement against those who haven't switched to e (I could care less how you read the romance novel – I want to know which one you read and how you liked it!) and something about nerds. Whatever. The data was somewhat interesting. The top five cities with the most Kindle sales were: 

  1. Lexington, Kentucky
  2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  3. Anchorage, Alaska
  4. Madison, Wisconsin
  5. Greenville… South Carolina?

Of note:

When you dig into the data about where Kindles are actually bought and sold, the most “cosmopolitan” cities in America are soundly beaten by mid-sized cities in the Midwest and South. Moreover, our data suggests that dedicated e-readers aren't very popular devices anywhere. In the landscape of consumer electronics, e-readers barely register.

I know I have replaced my cell phone more often than I've upgraded my e-reader, but part of that is because setting up the reader the way I want is a pain, and the prospect of doing so sends me running in the other direction. Upgrading a phone is a lot easier, especially since most of the apps I've purchased are downloaded automatically to the new device. What I find interesting is that the cities who are in the top five don't seem to have as long a commute as the other cities, which The Atlantic refers to as “the most 'cosmopolitan'” – and given the data Kobo provided at recent conferences that indicated more people read during their commute, I'm a little surprised that there weren't more “long commute” cities in the top results. That said, it may be that those people are reading on a multi-function device, not an e-reader. 

Do you see a lot of people using e-readers where you live? Or do you see people using other devices to read?

Finally, Avon has some pre-order specials in ebook form for titles that are coming out in May: 


  • The Fireman Who Loved Me by Jennifer Bernard * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • A Warrior's Promise by Donna Fletcher * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Kiss of Pride by Sandra Hill * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Lyon's Bride: The Chattan Curse by Cathy Maxwell * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Wicked Road to Hell by Juliana Stone * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • After the Abduction by Sabrina Jeffries * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S



The Link-O-Lator

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Katherinelynn_04 says:

    In regards to the e-readers and Ann Arbor, it’s a college city. U of M’s main campus is located there. I think that has a lot to do with it. You have a large population to begin with, plus a transient population. A lot of college-age kids buy ‘prestige’ electronics, as in it’s super popular and I have to have one because the guy who lives down the hall has one. Everyone has an iPhone, a computer, a blu-ray player, etc. (this isn’t true of everyone, but with a percentage of that age range I’m sure it’s enough to inflate those numbers quite a bit)

  2. 2
    TMS says:

    I live in WI and public transportation is not a big thing here—we don’t have great bus systems and nothing like a subway or the “L”, so I did a quick google search and less than 10% of people in Madison use public transportation. So, most commuters are driving—so I hope they are not using their Kindles! :)

    It is a college town though, so that may be where the numbers come from!

  3. 3
    TMS says:

    I had not read Katherinelynn’s response before I typed mine, so I guess we both see a connection with two of the cities on the list and the fact that they are college towns.

  4. 4
    Rebecca says:

    I wonder if the sales of e-readers also have to do with a lack of accessibility to bricks and mortar bookstores in mid-size cities.  (The great thing about the e-reader is the ability to get books without stepping out of the house.)  That MIGHT not hold true for college towns though I don’t know if they would have bookstores outside of university bookstores that tend toward textbooks.

    Someone above mentioned public transportation.  I’d say that public transport actually works against e-readers, as it’s the cities with large public transit systems that also tend to have the free newspapers (like the Swedish conglomerate Metro, or like AM New York) that people pick up to read on the train.  (My aunt was struck by the number of people reading paper newspapers on the subway when she visited from LA, and noticed that the majority were the free newspapers.)  Larger cities also have a higher concentration of “unofficial” channels for very cheap books, including people hawking self-published works on the street, hole-in-the-wall book exchanges, flea markets, etc.  Not that people don’t buy e-readers here, but they fill less of a need.

  5. 5

    I see at minimum three ereaders, and sometimes more, on my bus when I commute to and from work. I also frequently see them during lunch. But then, I live in Seattle and we’re Geek Central, and I work at a software company that’s located in a little cluster of software companies on one block, so my commute and lunch experiences are going to be heavily skewed. ‘Cause we geeks? We love our gadgets!

  6. 6
    Cialina says:

    Wow, that e-reader data is quite interesting. Maybe I just notice the people that do have ereaders in the subways of NYC because I have one too? I also would have thought that people in cosmopolitan areas own more e-readers than other cities. Hm.

  7. 7
    Maggy says:

    The way they crunched that data was clearly ridiculous. If you really want to know how popular a thing is, you measure sales per capita, not a product as a percentage of sales. Most people buy only one eReader, whereas they buy multiple cellphones, DVD players, TVs, etc.

    While I have been to Lexington and it is a lovely place, you will not see 15 people in a subway car reading on a Kindle the way you do in New York.

  8. 8
    Joykenn says:

    I saw the most ebook readers concentrated together ever when I took a recent cruise from LA to Hawaii and back.  It was a medium sized boat (by current standards) and the internet terminals were always filled and the public areas were full of ebook readers and they spilled over to seats at the seats in the bar area.  The big discussion was when and where Kindle owners could connect wirelessly to load more books.  AND, the cruise was filled with mostly older folks with virtually no teenagers or kids.  It was fascinating to see folks from all over the place all reading ebooks.  I think it isn’t a simple big town versus medium sized town but more the individual demographics of ebook readers. 

  9. 9
    Beggar1015 says:

    I’m with you on this. As a person who lives in an itty bitty teeny tiny town, we have one small library with not much of a selection, and our one good bookstore closed down. I’ve noticed more people here are getting e-readers because it’s just more convenient to buy books that way rather than going out of town or waiting for a book through snail mail.

  10. 10
    delphia2000 says:

    Anchorage was one of the cities that lost their Borders store which was the only one in the state. They have 2 good-sized book stores in Anchorage (one mainly used books) and a few smaller mom & pops. But the city libraries are under attack by a ‘conservative’ mayor who thinks libraries shouldn’t be free and he closed one of the most popular branch libraries that was in a mall there. My library and Anchorage’s both participate in the state’s ebook lending library program, so we get a lot of people coming in looking for help with how to sign on and borrow ebooks. I see a wide range in ages among the ebook readers. The local Walmart & Fred Meyer stores both carry Kindle & Nook, but I see more Kindle users. I’ve no idea why. I personally prefer my NookColor.

  11. 11

    I live in NYC and it seems that every other straphanger has some type of eReader, usually a Kindle or Nook. There are a handful who use tablets.

  12. 12
    Rebecca says:

    Good catch, Maggy.  I didn’t pick up that the data wasn’t per capita.  Of course people read kindles/nooks/etc. on the New York subway.  My point was just that they also read a lot in paper.

    One further thought on this; aside from the widespread availability of paper books in high density cities, these cities also tend to have large immigrant populations who read in languages other than English.  I know Kindle and its competitors have made great strides in making their devices compatible with non-Roman character sets, but the AVAILABILITY of e-books in other languages lags behind.  If you want to read in Japanese, or Polish, or Dutch, or even French or Italian you may be limited to paper.  (Frankly this strikes me as short-sighted of the publishers.  After all, the beauty of the e-reader is that you can get stuff FROM FAR AWAY.  And paper books in foreign languages are a pain to get ahold of.  If they worked out the geographical restrictions e-readers would have a built-in audience of those who consume books in a language different from the one spoken by the majority in their area.)

  13. 13
    Ken Houghton says:

    Nah, Cialina, I notice them too, and all I have is the app loaded on my Droid.  But remember that noticing five or six Kindles on a subway train is maybe 10% of the people on it.

    “Cosmopolitan areas” also have brick-and-mortar book stores, not just the dead, empty spaces that used to be a Borders.  I don’t think it’s coincident that all five cities listed (including especially Greenville, SC) are college towns and/or in the middle of a Vast Wasteland. And the rating is “Kindles for Sale as a percent of Total Items for Sale in that City.”

    Anyone surprised that Tourist Towns such as NYC don’t rank so high as College (and nothing else) Towns?

  14. 14
    Carrie Gwaltney says:

    If I’m not mistaken, Greenville SC is where Bob Jones University is. Maybe there’s a run on ereaders so the students (and faculty?) can read books that BJU would frown on (ban?). ;-)

  15. 15
    willaful says:

    Not sure it’s true people only buy one ereader. I own three, as well as apps on my ipod touch, and many of the people I hang out with online own multiples as well.

    I started that survey and gave up, because it kept insisting I choose 5 items when only 3 applied to me. Lousy design.

  16. 16
    willaful says:

    I do see people using ereaders fairly regularly where I live. I didn’t see many when I was in Manhattan—mostly smart phones.

  17. 17

    I think it’s because Office Depot and other locations only carry the Kindle; I’ve also noticed a trend that Freddie’s is out of the Nook when I wander past their electronics section.

    And I’ve also noticed that especially in book groups (my family belongs to several), people go with what their friends are using—and most of the “early” adapters up here were Kindle users.

  18. 18
    Nicole Hulst says:

    I’m in a mid-size town in Iowa and e-readers are getting pretty popular here. It helps that the libraries are starting to have a decent selection of ebooks to download and they offer classes on how to use them. There was once even a crafty session to make an e-reader cover.

  19. 19
    SusannaG says:

    Greenville has Bob Jones University and Greenville Tech in the city, Furman University just outside it, and we are the nearest goodsized town to Clemson (who have just moved their business school to downtown Greenville). 

    Also we have not had an independent bookstore here for several years now (Sob!  How I miss The Open Book!).

    You won’t see anyone reading on a Kindle on the subway here, for the obvious reason that we have no subway.  (We do have some buses.)

    Also, the local public library has Kindle lending, and their selection is getting better.

    I wonder if the large number of engineers in town has anything to do with it?

  20. 20
    Tina says:

    While I have been to Lexington and it is a lovely place, you will not see 15 people in a subway car reading on a Kindle the way you do in New York.

    It would be a bit difficult to “see 15 people in a subway car reading on a Kindle” here in Lexington.  In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find even one person.  That is because the only Subways we have sell sandwiches.

  21. 21
    Tina says:

    That MIGHT not hold true for college towns though I don’t know if they would have bookstores outside of university bookstores that tend toward textbooks.

    I don’t know about the other college towns, but here, we have one major independent store, Joseph Beth, and a well-loved, small independent, Morris Books.  We also have Barnes & Noble.  Then there are all of the used book stores, big and small.  There are a couple of high-end collectible book stores and several specialty stores that sell specific types of books (Christian book stores, Kentucky book stores, etc.)  In fact, we even have a major Amazon fulfillment center located here in Lexington.  We are a book store town. 

    I was a bit surprised that we were first in Kindle ownership, but then I thought of the people who I know who own one.  I even know one girl who doesn’t even have internet at home – she stops in the McDonald’s parking lot on the way home from work and uses their free wi-fi to download the books that she bought from Amazon that day at work.  Our library has an extensive collection of ebooks available for check out on pretty much anything that a person could use to read one.  So, I’m not really sure why we’re the first in Kindle ownership, but we seem to be, over all, a town of readers.


  22. 22
    ScottKPickering says:

    As a person who lives in an itty bitty teeny tiny town, we have one small library with not much of a selection, and our one good bookstore closed down. I’ve noticed more people here are getting e-readers because it’s just more convenient to buy books that way rather than going out of town or waiting for a book through snail mail.

  23. 23
    Susan says:

    The ereader * data seems suspect to me even w/ the possible explanation that those cities are big college towns in the middle of nowhere w/ no other convenient options.

    *I was amused that autocorrect keeps turning ereader into dreaded.  Hmmm.

  24. 24
    SB Sarah says:

    @Maggy – you are totally right. That data is wonky!

  25. 25
    SB Sarah says:

    CLEMSON. That’s what I was missing. I knew BJU was in Greenville (I went to college in Columbia) but I forgot about the Clemson business school and Furman adding to the college-town-ness of Greenville. So if the data is skewed toward college towns, that fits.

  26. 26
    Copa says:

    I lived in a very small town with over 60% of the population being retired, ereaders were everywhere, and when I would occasionally get into a conversation about them the answers were always the same. Now every book could be a large print book so they could read whatever they wanted, the only place to buy books was a Fred Meyer, with the nearest actual bookstore over an hour away so instantly downloading what they wanted was perfect.

  27. 27
    Heather says:

    Smaller towns tend to have fewer bookstores—and sometimes they don’t have any, period. Also, if you’re in the conservative South but like LGBT romance, you’re not going to find much of it in the new bookstores there. (I used to live in a conservative Southern town and finding m/m romance at our one new bookstore was all but impossible.)

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