The results are in! During April and May 2008, we had two surveys running. One survey collected data about how our visitors decide what children’s books they want to read. The other survey asked people who came to the website about their visit.
First the Reading Survey. Our questions focused on selection and reading patterns: how do we pick books and when do we read them with kids. Key findings:
* 50% of our survey respondents learn about books they want to read from a family member or friends. Teachers or Librarians came in at 49.1%. Interestingly enough, when we asked them about what affects their selection decision the most, it was their child’s interests (57%). Recommendations from other people ranked sixth (14.9%) for picture books and tied for fifth (with none of the above – 10.%) for chapter books.
* Technology is having an impact on how we collect information. 43% learn about books by reading blogs or visiting websites. Magazines/television came in at 26.3%, giving the Internet a nearly 2:1 edge.
* Parents consider their child’s interests the primary criteria in selecting books, whether it is a picture book or chapter book. [57% for picture books, 59.6% for chapter books]
* When publishers add the reading level to their book jackets, people generally think this means that the numbers refer to the interest level (58.8%). If the “recommended age” is for reading level, then this needs to be more explicit.
Question: How do you learn about books you want to read with children?
50% – Family member or friends
49.1% – Teacher or Librarian
43.1% – blogs/websites
28.9% – Other
26.3% – Magazines/television
25.4% – merchant or eTail store
Question: When selecting children’s books do you prefer to
… purchase them new (68.4%)
… borrow them from the library (24.6%)
… purchase them used (7.0%)
Question: When picking a picture book to read with a child, what affects your decision the most? (Pick up to two answers)
57% – It’s something my child is interested in
50% – quality of the book
41.2% – quality of the illustrations
23.7% – will I like it
21.1% – recommended age/interest level
14.9% – reocommendations from other kids/parents
Question: When picking a chapter book to read with a child, what matters most to you? (Select up to two answers)
59.6% – Will my child like this
42.1% – quality of the book
33.3% – Is this a book we can read together
28.1% – reading level
13.3% – recommended age
10.5% – recommendations from other kids
– not applicable/none of the above
Question: When you see “recommended age” on a book, what does that mean?
58.8% – Interest Level (age of children w ho would be interested in this book)
33.3% – Reading Level (age of children who can read the book independently)
7.9% – Marketing Tool
Question: How often to you read with a child or children?
46.5% – daily
22.8% – periodically, we don’t have a schedule
20.2% – several times a week
6.1% – once a week
4.4% – I don’t read with kids.
Survey 2: What do you think about the Reading Tub® website? This was a shorter survey that was an effort to gauge traffic. It didn’t look at the demographics of our visitors, just their sense of whether or not we have a valuable product. Key finding:
* More than half of the people taking the survey found us through a search engine query. Far outpacing other media methods.
* 76.5 of the people who had visited the site for the first time would come back again.
* Far fewer people took this survey than the reading survey. It could mean that people don’t want to fill out pop-up surveys or they’re tired of being surveyed.
QUESTION: How did you learn about the Reading Tub® website?
54.5% – Search engine
18.2% – News article or media reference
13.6% – Recommended by a friend/colleague/family member
9.1% – Other
4.5% – Advertisement
QUESTION: What brought you to the Reading Tub® website today?
50.0% – Looking for children’s books
27.3% – Looking for information about reading
18.2% – Other
4.5% – Want my book reviewed
QUESTION: How often do you visit the Reading Tub® website or blogs?
54.4% – This is my first visit
27.3% – weekly
9.1% – a couple times per month
4.5% – daily, tied with couple times per year
QUESTION: If this is your first visit, will you return to the Reading Tub® again?
76.5% – Yes
17.6% – Maybe
5.9% – No
My thanks to everyone who took the time to answer our questions. You’ve given us some ideas about areas we need to expand (articles and ideas to encourage reading with your child), things we need to retool (our literacy sections), and things that don’t need fixing right now. In addition, the surveys offer readers, educators, librarians, book reviewers, booksellers, publishers, and authors some thoughts about their audience on several levels, from who is picking books, how often they read, and how to promote your work.