November 27, 2015

New Market Research From Bowker: Who’s Really Reading 50 Shades?

From a Bowker Announcement:

As it turns out, the notion that readers of the 50 Shades Trilogy are moms filling wait time while their kids finish sports or music practice isn’t entirely accurate. A new analysis by Bowker Market Research of buyers of the novels shows that less than 30 percent of purchases are to women with kids at home. A snapshot of buying habits from January-June 2012 showed the appeal of the books has been far more widespread. To wit, 14 percent of purchases were for readers older than 55 and 20 percent of buyers were male.


Compared to the typical adult fiction consumer, buyers of the Fifty Shades books are more likely to be women, live in the Northeast, and have a significantly higher household income. They read fewer paperbacks and more digital books versus last year and are especially likely to use a hand-held device such as a Kindle. Their purchase of a 50 Shades book was more likely to planned — just 11 percent were whims – and oh yeah, nine out of ten times the purchase was for “pleasure/relaxation,” but it’s worth noting that an intriguing one percent were purchased for “work/career” reasons. The analysis of 50 Shades buyers is drawn from Bowker Market Research’s Books & Consumer US monthly tracker survey, which collects data on book purchases from a nationally representative sample of 6, 000 U.S. book buyers per month. The data relate to purchases of books in the Fifty Shades trilogy, by E. L. James in January-June 2012.

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

Craft Exceptional Digital Experiences for Your Users
Digital UX LJ and ER&L present an exceptional roster of library and user experience (UX) experts for our newest online course, Digital UX Workshop: Crafting Exceptional Digital Experiences for the User-Centered Library. During this 5-week online workshop, you will explore why UX matters, and how to sell user-centered design (UCD) to leadership within your organization. Whether you want to redesign your website, revamp your user interface, create a new discovery tool, implement e-resources, or develop a mobile app—you’ll have a tangible product by the end of the course.