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Bowker studies the demographics behind the international phenomenon

Bowker studies the demographics behind the international phenomenon

New Providence, NJ - November 29, 2012 - As it turns out, the notion that readers of the 50 Shades Trilogy are moms filling wait time while their kids finish sports or music practice isn’t entirely accurate. A new analysis by Bowker® Market Research of buyers of the novels shows that less than 30 percent of purchases are to women with kids at home. A snapshot of buying habits from January-June 2012 showed the appeal of the books has been far more widespread. For example, 14 percent of purchases were for readers older than 55 and 20 percent of buyers were male.

“It’s a remarkable phenomenon. Nearly one in five adult fiction books purchased for women in June were from the 50 Shades Trilogy,” said Jo Henry, Director of Bowker Market Research, a service of ProQuest affiliate Bowker. “Certainly, the ability to read these books discreetly on an e-reader is a factor, but women are not shy about discussing them. A recommendation from a friend or relative is the primary factor in both discovering and ultimately purchasing the Fifty Shades books.”

Compared to the typical adult fiction consumer, buyers of the Fifty Shades books are more likely to be women, live in the Northeast, and have a significantly higher household income. They read fewer paperbacks and more digital books versus last year and are especially likely to use a hand-held device such as a Kindle. Their purchase of a 50 Shades book was more likely to planned -- just 11 percent were whims – and oh yeah, nine out of ten times the purchase was for “pleasure/relaxation,” but it’s worth noting that an intriguing one percent were purchased for “work/career” reasons.

The analysis of 50 Shades buyers is drawn from Bowker Market Research’s Books & Consumer US monthly tracker survey, which collects data on book purchases from a nationally representative sample of 6, 000 U.S. book buyers per month. The data relate to purchases of books in the Fifty Shades trilogy, by E. L. James in January-June 2012. To learn more about any sectors of the US consumer book market, contact James Howitt,

About Bowker® (
Bowker is the world's leading provider of bibliographic information and management solutions designed to help publishers, booksellers, and libraries better serve their customers. Creators of products and services that make books easier for people to discover, evaluate, order, and experience, the company also generates research and resources for publishers, helping them understand and meet the interests of readers worldwide. Bowker, a ProQuest affiliate, is the official ISBN Agency for the United States and its territories. The company is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey, with additional operations in England and Australia.

29 November 2012

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