Readers, last month we asked you a whole bunch of questions for our EIGHTH annual survey, which is one of the highlights of my year. This time it took us a good long time to comb through the data, because for 2019 we had a record number of responses: over 9500 of them! I’m grateful for every one of them, and our team read each and every one.
I love this survey because it’s fun. It’s great to hear from you, and as a personality geek, survey-making and taking is oddly enjoyable. Your responses are immensely helpful to me as a I plan for the blog, podcast, and book club, your questions inspire new posts, and your feedback helps set new directions as we continue to build our bookish community.
And your compliments? They warm my heart and let me know that we’re doing something right around here.
Now … on to the results.
You still read a lot of books.
The more you read, the more you read. 51% of people who responded have read over 50 books in the past year, up from 47% on last year’s survey. There was a 2% increase for people who have read more than 100 books per year. Over 200 of you are reading more than 200 books per year.
Please note: these stats are just for fun, and several years ago I added those big numbers to the survey (50+, 100+) to satisfy your curiosity! I firmly believe that reading is NOT a competitive sport, and that quality matters more than quantity. Please note that if you read 1-6 books each year, you are in very good company, we salute you, and we’re glad you’re here.
54% of you have a local independent bookstore.
A slight majority, but a majority nonetheless, has access to a local independent bookstore. We asked you to cite your favorite, and you mentioned 1330(!!) unique indie bookstores, including 278 international stores from all over. That’s incredible!
Because I know you love a good list as much as I do, here are the top 10 (in no particular order): Book People (Austin, TX), Tattered Cover (Denver, CO), Carmichael’s Bookstore (my local, here in Louisville), Changing Hands Bookstore (Phoenix, AZ), Parnassus Books (Nashville, TN), Politics & Prose (Washington, D.C.), Powell’s (Portland, OR), Quail Ridge Books (Raleigh, NC), Rainy Day Books (Kansas City, KS), and Joseph-Beth Booksellers (KY and OH).
Those of you without an indie nearby have complicated feelings about this, especially regarding the push to buy local. Sometimes buying local isn’t an option; sometimes it isn’t financially feasible. Whether you shop indie or used bookstores or find a great deal online—or some combination of all of these—we hope you know there’s no one right way to go about buying books.
The Summer Reading Guide is a resource.
A full 7% of you challenge yourselves to read every selection on the guide; I was shocked the number was so high! The majority of you use it, as expected, to find a few books you want to read.
But you also use it in creative ways. One reader said she bought all of the Minimalist Summer Reading Guide picks for her sister who lives in another country, thanks to free shipping from Book Depository. They do a sisters book club each weekend on the phone. How great is that?
We overthink things. A lot.
When it comes to overthinking, we’re in good company. The most common things you’re overthinking: work, retirement, finances, time management, aging/health/weight, relationships, and parenting. But there were also answers like “how to write 3 star book reviews” and choosing the right lipstick.
I was curious about that this year because I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about overthinking (pun intended) and compiled all of those thoughts into my third book Don’t Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life, which comes out March 3, 2020.
You rely on a lot of digital services.
Now is probably a good time to tell you that you can read BOTH my books on Kindle Unlimited. Click here for Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything, my book about how understanding seven significant personality frameworks improves your life, work, and relationships. And click here for I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life, my fun and relatable essay collection for book people. Enjoy!
“Tell me anything” is the best.
This is always my favorite section. Not only do some of your questions and suggestions become blog ideas, but also, you’re funny. And sweet. And informative.
- Fun book story: I had The River on hold at my library and I was number like a billion. My boss came in one day and he had it from the library and he said “I stayed up late reading this. It’s due Monday. Here.” When that happens, YOU READ IT. I think I’ve made a new book friend!
- A chipotle is a dried smoked jalepeño.
- Audiobooks are almost as awesome and necessary as indoor plumbing.
- Evariste Galois (my favorite mathematician) died very young in a duel over a girl he loved. He knew he was not skilled and would not make it through the duel, so he wrote down ALL the mathematics he knew (he was a genius) the night before he died!
- I am a rom-com lover and a bookstore/library fanatic, and yet I only just watched You’ve Got Mail for the first time this past weekend! How had it escaped me?
- I’ve always taken my reading seriously, but the podcast has really helped me identify why I like certain books and don’t love others. I’m doing a much better job of picking books to read now. Many, but not all, are Anne’s suggestions. So, thanks!
- Last year I told you I’d just found out I was expecting, this year I have a 16 week baby girl named Elizabeth ( we call her Betsy) and she already has a growing collection of books including board books about Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery. We love the Little People, Big Dreams series.
- Several deaf/hard-of-hearing fans mentioned being grateful for transcripts of the podcast. Accessibility is important to us, too, and we’re so glad we can offer transcripts each week. (You can find a link to the episode’s transcript in the show notes. Here’s an example from this week.)
- Louise Penny might owe me a commission based on how many readers thanked me for introducing them to her work.
- Lots of love for my dog Daisy. She is very lovable indeed.
Readers, that’s it for our 2019 survey! Thanks again for reading, and for helping me make this a happier corner of the internet.
With much love and wishes for lots more happy reading,