Romance Writers of America commissioned NPD Book to perform the creation, implementation, and analysis of "The Romance Book Buyer 2017: A Study by NPD Book for Romance Writers of America." Below is some of the information discovered about romance readers.
- Gender: 82% are female; 18% are male.
- Age: average age is between 35 and 39 years; the highest percentage falls in the 25–34 age bracket.
- Ethnicity: 73% are White/Caucasian, 12% Black/African American, 7% Latino/Hispanic, and 4% Asian/Asian American.
- Sexual orientation: 86% of survey respondents identified as heterosexual or straight; 9% identified as bisexual, pansexual, or other bi+ identity; 2% identified as gay or lesbian.
- Most frequent readers are younger, with half of frequent and very frequent readers aged 34 and below.
- 92% of survey respondents are print readers; 64% are e-book readers; 35% are audiobook users.
- Tablets and smartphones are the most-used devices to read e-books.
- Half of romance readers read romantic suspense, followed by erotic and historical as the most popular genres.
- Younger readers read more young adult, erotic, and paranormal romance and less contemporary romance than older readers.
Acquiring Romance Books
- Where do readers acquire their romances?
- Top responses were: borrow from a library; purchase in brick-and-mortar bookstores; acquire them from friends/relatives; purchase in print via an online store; and purchase them as an e-book via an online store.
- A higher percentage of readers buy from bricks-and-mortar stores than online, and 15% use a subscription service like Kindle Unlimited.
- One-third of readers searched for new authors in the the past six months.
- Content is listed as a more important purchase influence than recommendations.
The future of romance is the younger emerging readership.
These younger readers are:
- diverse in sexual orientation and in ethnicity
- more male
- frequent readers
- listening to audiobooks
- reading e-books on smartphones
- consuming YA, erotic, and paranormal romance
- shopping at a greater number of online retailers
- extremely engaged on social media and willing to experiment with new authors
- Sample of 2,000 romance book readers
- Survey fielded in December 2017
- Quota for gender and age based on nationally representative sample of book buyers who said they were likely to read a romance book in the future
- Screener question: Do you read romance fiction novels? This would include books where (1) there is a central love story and (2) the end of the story is positive.