Where Did You Get the Last Book You Read? : Reader Poll Results

Rebecca Joines Schinsky

Chief of Staff

Rebecca Joines Schinsky is the executive director of product and ecommerce at Riot New Media Group. She co-hosts All the Books! and the Book Riot Podcast. Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccaschinsky.

We’ve talked big-picture reading habits a lot around here, so in our latest reader poll, we decided to get specific and ask, simply, where did you get the last book you read?

Over a two-week period, 1,953 Riot readers shared the origin of their most recent read. The question was open-ended–readers could write in anything–so I went through all the responses and grouped them into the most common categories. Bear in mind these results can’t be used to tell us anything about ALL Book Riot readers’ habits, or about these particular readers’ broader preferences. This is a one-day snapshot of this group’s book sources in the two-week period the poll was open, and we shouldn’t attempt to generalize the results.

Okay. Those are the caveats. Now here’s the breakdown!

last book results

Having fun’s not hard when you’ve got a library card, and there’s no doubt Riot readers know that song–a whopping 923 of the 1,953 respondents got their last book at the library. The big A slides in a distant second with 261 respondents, followed by indie bookstores with 177.

127 readers said they got the last book they read from a chain bookstore (Barnes and Noble, Waterstones, and Chapters were the most common), and an additional 25 readers specifically mentioned getting their books from a chain bookstore’s website or online platform (i.e. Nook). And speaking of digital platforms, 30 readers’ most recent reads came from an ebook subscription service like Scribd or Oyster.

After the big names came a whole bunch of smaller ones, as 116 readers reported getting their latest book through various online retail sources, and 111 from used bookstores.

For 75 readers, the last book they read was a gift or was borrowed/shared from family or friends. Of the 61 readers who got their books straight from the publisher or author, many indicated receiving digital galleys and participating in early reviewer programs, while only 3 stated that they purchased their book directly from the publisher.

The “miscellaneous retail” category encapsulates the 47 readers who got books at non-book-focused retail outlets like Target, Costco, and Tesco.

I’m interested in and excited by the results, particularly by the strong showing for libraries, which does seem consistent with the large number of readers who told us that they bought relatively few of the books they read in 2014 in this other poll (and who, I must note, could be totally different people than the ones who responded this month). What are your thoughts and questions? Any surprises?

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