10 Insights on Millennial Readers

Millennial readersA few weeks ago we explored a few facts about boomer readers – so, today we’re looking at millennials to see if their reading habits and preferences differ from other age groups based on surveys done in 2015, 2013 and 2012. Millennials are generally defined as those born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.

  1. More millennials than any other group read over 30 books a year. 61% in 2012, 52% in 2013 and 58% in 2015. And they have the highest intention to read at that level or more in the future.
  2. More than other age groups, millennials read historical fiction ‘because it’s a great story’ or ‘because it’s the best form of entertainment’.
  3. Types of stories – as a group millennials have less interest in historical fiction series than other age groups. And they are the most likely to choose books with ‘high stakes’.
  4. Millennials are more likely to consider geography as a factor when choosing stories to read. They prefer stories set in Europe or Britain over any other geography.
  5. As for time periods, millennials most preferred stories are from the 13th to 16th centuries, and they have a keener interest in ancient history than other age groups.
  6. When choosing books, price and cover have more influence while author is less important to millennials.
  7. As a group, they are most likely to consult social media before purchasing a book and have the highest interest in adding their voice to the rating of books.
  8. In terms of acquiring and reading books, they are slightly less likely to purchase from bookstores (even though they say they are more like to find books by browsing the bookstore) and more likely to borrow from friends than other groups. They are more likely to ‘read mostly print books’ and least likely to ‘read mostly ebooks’ than others.
  9. 86% use blogs, social media and other online sites for reading recommendations and discussion and are the least likely to check reviews in newspapers and other print media.
  10. Features they value from online sources are: ratings, giveaways, best of lists, an opportunity to comment and connect with other readers, and the ability to track their books.

I’m not particularly surprised by any of these insights and as a general conclusion — now that I’ve looked at boomers and millennials and scanned the age groups several times — I would say that age does not have as big an impact as gender does.

A note about numbers: in the under 30 group, 419 people participated across the three years which is roughly 8% of all participants; 159 in 2015, 202 in 213, and 58 in 2012. It’s impossible for me to assess whether some individuals responded to the survey in more than one year. As with other age groups, a huge percentage are women, which affects some of the results.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. Her debut novel, UNRAVELLED: Two wars. Two affairs. One marriage. is also available from these retailers.

Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Top 10 Posts from Reader surveys

WHAT PORTION OF YOUR BOOK READING IS HISTORICAL FICTION?
WHAT PORTION OF YOUR BOOK READING IS HISTORICAL FICTION?

Having conducted and posted about three separate reader surveys, I thought it might be useful to bring together some of the posts that have attracted the most interest.

First, the survey reports themselves from 2015, 2013 and 2012.

Favourite historical fiction authors from 2015, 2013, 2012.

Favourite Reading Oriented Sites where readers go to discover and discuss books

Favourite Historical Fiction conducted for the first time in the 2015 survey

Gender differences played out in many ways – from the 2013 survey Men Have Their Say on Favourite Historical Fiction Authors and Reading Historical Fiction Varies by Gender while from the 2012 survey Historical Fiction Survey – She Says, He Says

Historical Fiction Would be Better If offers a look at what detracts readers from their enjoyment of historical fiction.

Reading Historical Fiction Varies by Country Part I and Part II

A recent look at boomer readers prompted much interest. More broadly there’s this post on Age Makes a Difference.

Historical Fiction Preferences – Publishers vs Readers a look at the eras being published compared with the eras readers prefer

A Reader’s Paradise – 312 reading blogs and sites mentioned in the 2013 survey plus Four Top Book Blogs from the 2012 survey

Reading historical fiction varies by gender

On Facebook recently, Derek Birksauthor of Rebels And Brothers, a series set during the Wars of the Roses, wondered about differences between men and women in their reading habits and historical fiction preferences. I’ve had a look at the 2013 survey and here’s what I found.

NOTE – I’m reporting here on areas where I think there are statistically significant differences. Read the full report and other selected posts for further information.

Part 2 – favourite authors – can be found here.

Books per year (all books, not just historical fiction)

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Book format preferences

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Proportion of book reading that is historical fiction

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Reasons for reading historical fiction

  • to learn about real people behind the legends: men 26%, women 31%
  • to bring the past to life: men 72%, women 80%
  • because it’s a great story: men 69%, women 60%
  • because it’s a form of time travel: men 33%, women 39%

Within historical fiction, what type of story appeals to you?

Top three for men: fictional characters within a backdrop of great historical events 74%; adventure 66%, stories with a military,naval angle 51%

Top three for women: fictional characters within a backdrop of great historical events 71%; romance 44%; the life of a significant historical figure 40%. For women, two other reasons come close to the 40% figure suggesting that preferences are more varied.

What historical time periods do you read?

Top three for men: 3000 BC to 1000 AD 42%; 6th to 12th centuries 40%; 13th to 16th centuries 36%

Top three for women: 13th to 16th centuries 50%; 18th century 41%; choose widely from all periods 39%

Source of Recommendations

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Use of Blogs, social media or other online sitesScreen Shot 2014-11-19 at 5.28.55 PMFor favourite historical fiction authors, have a look at an earlier post comparing men and women based on data from the 2013 survey.

You can also check out my 2012 survey report.

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available in paperback from Amazon and in e-book formats from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.