1. What subgenre of romance do you read most often?
- short contemporary: 5%
- long contemporary: 31%
- historical: 25%
- (time period/locale?): Regency - 33%; Medieval - 11%; English - 33%; Scottish - 23%
- paranormal: 15%
- (what sort?): vampire - 40%; werewolf - 20%; other - 40%
- inspirational: 3%
- erotic romance: 15%
- other: 6%
2. How many books do you read in a week?
- 1-3: 54%; 4-6: 28%; 7-10: 7%; 15+: 11%
In a month?
- 1-5: 42%; 6-10: 25%; 10+: 33%
In a year?
- 1-50: 25%; 51-100: 13%; 101-200: 25%; 201+: 37%
3. How do you shop for romance novels?
- by author name: 52%
- by reviews: 8%
- back cover/inside cover blurbs: 16%
- cover art: 0
- recommendation of friends: 16%
- other: 8%
In ranking people's shopping preferences, I wasn't at all surprised that most people shop by author name these days, but I was a tad surprised to see that most people's second choice for selecting new books was a dead tie between reviews and recommendations of friends at 28% each, and another 22% use cover art as their second choice.
4. Where do you shop for romance novels?
- bookstore, chain or indie: 31%
- used bookstore: 21%
- online sites: 21%
- book clubs: 9%
- other: 18%; this was divided among library usage (75%), online auctions (12%) and other kinds of stores, ie, grocery, drugstore, etcetera (13%).
5. What other types of fiction do you read?
- sci-fi/fantasy: 10%
- mystery/thriller/suspense: 38%
- literature/classics: 12%
- chick lit: 6%
- horror: 6%
- historical fiction: 9%
- general fiction: 6%
- other: 13%
6. What percentage of your reading do romance novels make up?
- 50-60%: 17% (I'll note here that no respondent listed less than 50% of their reading as romance.)
- 61 - 80%: 39%
- 81 - 100%: 44%
7. Why do you read romance?
This one garnered varied reasons, with the top two being the HEA/love story (at 29%) and reading as an escape or way to relax (at 25%), followed not too distantly by the sex (at 18%), with other things like the history or characters or, for some of the writers who responded, to study the market coming much further behind in rankings, all in the single digits.
8. Would you be upset if a book marketed as a romance novel didn't have a happy ending?
- no: 21%
- yes: 69%; Liat says, "I won't read a book where the lovers meet, the relationship grows and then they break up at the end. That doesn't sound like a romance to me."
- other: 10%, with reasoning such as, it depends on the story/character growth.
9. Rank the following in order of importance, from most to least important, in your decision to purchase a romance novel:
- author name: 89%; price came in second at 11%
In looking at the second place item on everyone's lists, price ranked highest, at 47%, with book quality coming in at 24% and cover art at 18% as the second most important item on the list.
Because of the sheer length of compiling all these results and comments, I've divided this into two separate articles, so please go here to continue reading the survey results.