An Expert Guide To Book Market Research

Book market research is vital for authors and publishers aiming to understand their audience and increase sales. From our experience, we've seen how gathering the right data and insights can transform a mediocre project into a successful one.

This guide discusses the strategies and tools that will help you navigate the complex book market industry. From analyzing current trends to identifying your target readership and assessing competition, we'll explain how to conduct book market research in order to make informed decisions.

Conduct book market research with Drive Research. Contact our team today by filling out an online form or emailing [email protected].

What is Book Market Research?

Book market research is the process of gathering and analyzing data about the book industry to understand various aspects such as market trends, target audiences, and competitive landscapes. 

In our experience, this research involves studying current bestsellers, identifying popular genres, evaluating reader preferences, and assessing the strategies of successful authors and publishers. 

By leveraging various types of methodologies, such as surveys, concept testing, and focus groups, book market research helps authors and publishers make informed decisions about book development, marketing, and distribution – ultimately enhancing the chances of a book's success.

Why Invest in Book Market Research

When we dive into book market research, we're really asking who will read the book we want to write. Figuring out what readers crave can make a huge difference. 

Research can shine by showing what's selling and helps writers fit their work into a spot where readers are already looking.

Below are common reasons why publishing companies have worked with our market research company.

Understand key audience segments 

In our work with book marketing, understanding audience segments is key. Different readers look for different things in books – what grabs the attention of one might not interest another.

With the use of online surveys, we've found it helpful to divide the audience into clear segments. This could mean grouping by age, location, reading habits, or even reasons they read.

For example, you may discover different segments based on their path to discovering new books. Perhaps millennial readers discover new books through podcasts, while Gen X focuses on staying up to date with bestseller lists.

Based on these segments, a publisher may decide to purchase an ad spot with a reading podcast with a large millennial following.

Market analysis example

Increase the likelihood of book success

Investing in book market research is highly beneficial as it minimizes the risk of launching a book that doesn't resonate with its intended audience. 

By understanding reader preferences and reactions early in the development process, authors can tailor their content, titles, and covers to better meet market demands.

This not only enhances the likelihood of a book's commercial success but also ensures that marketing efforts are more effectively targeted. 

Ultimately, concept testing helps in creating a product that stands out in a competitive market, aligning closely with what readers are looking for.

Analyzing the competition 

Book market research isn't just about the readers, though. It's also about measuring the competition and learning unique ways to stand out.

By examining the strategies, strengths, and weaknesses of successful books and authors, you can identify market gaps, emerging trends, and best practices.

This knowledge enables you to position your book uniquely, avoiding oversaturated themes and capitalizing on underserved areas. 

Additionally, by keeping an eye on how competitors engage with their audience, price their books, and promote their work, you can refine your own strategies to attract and retain readers. 

Staying up to date with market trends

Market research has another superpower: it lets us see the future of publishing. 

By diligently tracking and analyzing emerging trends, shifts in reader preferences, and technological advancements, market research enables writers and publishers to anticipate what the next big thing in the literary world might be. 

This foresight also helps authors to innovate, adapt their writing styles, explore new genres, and embrace novel marketing techniques that resonate with future readers. 

Types of Book Market Research

Reader Surveys

An online survey is a great method for collecting feedback and preferences directly from readers about various aspects of books, such as genres, cover designs, and plot elements. 

They are specifically beneficial for book market research because they offer a cost-effective and efficient way to reach a wide audience, gather data quickly, and analyze results in real time.

Better yet, reader surveys can provide valuable insights for authors and publishers to tailor their offerings to reader preferences.

For example, let’s say a publishing company surveyed readers to gauge interest in various sub-genres of mystery novels. The results revealed a growing demand for historical mysteries with strong female protagonists. 

Armed with this insight, the company greenlit a series that perfectly matched these preferences, leading to a best-selling franchise and a strengthened relationship with its target audience.

Market Analysis 

We often recommend conducting a market analysis because it involves examining the dynamics, trends, and competitive landscape of the book industry to understand factors influencing book sales and reader preferences.

It encompasses evaluating the market size, growth potential, consumer demographics, and competitor strategies to identify opportunities and challenges for authors and publishers. 

Competitive Assessments

This type of book market research involves evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, strategies, and performance of competing authors, publishers, and books within a specific genre or market segment. 

Competitive assessments for publishers may include examining factors such as: 

  • Bestselling titles
  • Author popularity
  • Pricing strategies
  • Marketing tactics
  • Reader reviews

By conducting competitive assessments, authors and publishers gain valuable insights into the competitive landscape, enabling them to identify opportunities for differentiation, anticipate market trends, and refine their own strategies to stand out and succeed in a crowded marketplace.

Recommended Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Conducting a Competitor Analysis

Concept Testing

Concept testing market research is a process where potential readers evaluate book ideas, titles, covers, and other elements before a book is fully developed or published. 

This type of research involves presenting these concepts to a sample audience and gathering feedback to assess their appeal, comprehension, and potential market success. 

Methods can include concept testing surveys and focus groups allowing authors and publishers to refine their concepts based on real reader input.

Learn more about concept testing surveys in the video below.

Focus Groups

Lastly, focus groups offer publishers and authors in-depth feedback to better understand reader perceptions and preferences.

They typically involve 8 to 12 participants that match the profile of the target audience you’re hoping to reach. During these sessions, participants engage in guided discussions, share their opinions, preferences, and reactions, and offer suggestions for improvement.

How to Do Market Research in Publishing

The steps to conduct book market research will vary depending on your choice of methodology, however, the process includes common components to focus on.

To conduct market research successfully, we recommend working with a market research firm, like Drive Research. Doing so ensures that the process is completed correctly and delivers high-quality results. 

Here is an overview of the process of conducting market research for authors and publishers: 

  1. Define Your Objectives: Determine what specific information you're seeking. Are you looking to identify new trends, understand reader demographics, evaluate competition, or something else?

  2. Identify Your Target Audience: Understand who your potential readers are. Consider demographics like age, gender, location, interests, and reading habits. This will help tailor your research to gather relevant data.

  3. Select Your Methodology: Choosing the right research methodology depends on your objectives, budget, timeline, and the depth of insights you need. Common solutions include surveys, focus groups, market analyses, and concept testing.

  4. Gather Feedback: Based on your methodology you will launch the online survey or conduct a focus group with your target audience.

  5. Analyze Results: Look for patterns, trends, and correlations that can provide insights into market demand, reader demographics, and purchasing behavior.

  6. Take Action: Use the feedback and insights gathered from your research to inform the development of new content, marketing campaigns, or product offerings that resonate with your target audience.

Contact Our Book Market Research Company

Drive Research is a full-service market research company with experience working with authors, writers, and publishers. Our team of seasoned researchers often execute online surveys, focus groups, market segmentation studies, and other methodologies to deliver unique insights that drive decision-making.

Interested in working with our team? Contact Drive Research today.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily carroll about the author

Emily Rodgers

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Senior Marketing Manager. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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