E-reading: a technology trend driven by older, not younger, readers

A just-released report from Kobo has added detail to the 2015 finding by Nielsen UK that older women are relatively heavy ebook purchasers. As reported in The Guardian, Kobo said this makes e-reading “the first technological revolution being driven by [those aged] 45 and older, rather than younger generations”. Some 16% of Kobo’s customers buy an ebook almost everyday.

The Kobo study suggests that women account for 75% of the most active e-readers – spending at least 30 minutes a day reading.  They overwhelmingly prefer romance novels, with the category accounting for more than twice the number of unit sales as general fiction, the second most popular category. Mystery novels came in third. While women accounted for the largest group of active digital readers, older men also made up a significant proportion of the group. While men aged between 18 to 34 account for only 13% of active digital readers, men over 65 represent 34% of Kobo’s most enthusiastic readers.

“As one gets older there are a number of benefits in e-reading,” said Michael Tamblyn, Kobo chief executive. “It’s nice to be able to make the font larger, or not have to travel to the bookshop to find your next book.”

He added that digital shops own the lion’s share of romance sales. ‘It’s quite difficult for a bricks and mortar store to stock the range and selection these passionate readers want, as they can’t devote the space to it. So these customers have come much more quickly to digital.”

When combined with the Nielsen UK data that found older women also account for 32% of borrowings from UK Companions, book and e-bookpublic libraries, it is clear that women over the age of 45 “ are the engine that powers the [book] industry,”  Tamblyn said. “The industry has intuitively known this, but we wanted to shine a light on it.”

Kobo’s report is based on data from its own customers as well as a survey of 16,000 readers using both Kobo e-readers and competing devices. It confirmed that prolific readers buy and read both print and digital books, reading on average two print books a month and buying 16 print books as well as 60 ebooks a year.

 

Ripping Start Finalists

It is with great pleasure that we announce (in alphabetical order) the finalists in the Ripping Start competition.

Congratulations and best of luck to:

Alexa Bravo

AJ Blythe

AJ Macpherson

Jo McAlister

Cassandra Pennington

Samantha West

The finalists’ entries will now go to the final judge, Deb Werksman, Editorial Director, Sourcebooks Casablanca.

Thanks, as always, to our volunteer judges and a huge thank you to Erica Hayes, who stepped in and did an enormous amount of unexpected work on this contest.

New Sylvia Day romance tops Australian bestseller lists

One with YouWoo hoo! One with You, Sylvia Day’s conclusion to her Crossfire series, entered the Australian bestseller charts* as highest new entry AND #1 on the overall bestseller lists. Lovely to see a romance novel indisputably top the charts.

The Crossfire series is a quintet that follows the emotional and romantic journey taken by Gideon Cross and Eva Tramell. A #1 internationally bestselling series, the Crossfire books are available in forty territories… and counting. Last year, Sylvia Day thrilled Australian readers when she visited our shores for the second time as a guest of the Australian Romance Readers Association.

*Nielsen Bookscan figures released 18 April for week of 9 April.

Emerald Finalists

We are delighted to announce the finalists in this year’s Emerald Award.

The Emerald is our annual award for RWA members who are unpublished in fiction over 10k words.  It is unique among our contests in that it requires the submission of a full manuscript (for those who make it to the second round).  So these three people have made it through two rounds and a lot of volunteer reading by dedicated romance readers to get to this stage.

So without further ado, let us congratulate (in alphabetical order):

Laura Boon

Suzanne Cass

Frances dall’Alba

The finalists’ entries will now go to the final judge, Sue Brockhoff, Head of Publishing, Harlequin Australia.  The placings will be announced at the awards dinner at our conference in August.

Thanks to our contest manager, judges co-ordinator, volunteer judges and all the fabulous RWA volunteers who make our contest season happen.

April New Releases

I hope everybody enjoyed the Easter long weekend and reading some extra books while enjoying their chocolate. Don’t the two make a fabulous combination?  Books and chocolate,  chocolate and books … it really does’t matter which way you mix them.

Chocolate levels may have returned to normal, but happily we have some fabulous new releases available this month from our members so there is no need to limit your book rations. Mix and match as much as you wish to. Happy reading everyone.

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Valerie Parv Award opening soon

All Aspiring and Emerging RWA members are invited to enter the Valerie Parv Award contest which opens on 8 April. For more information and to enter, go to  http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/110/Valerie-Parv-Award

VPA promo pic

First Kiss Finalists

Pucker up!  The RWA First Kiss competition has found six finalists who give great smooch – on the page, anyway…

Congratulations to our 2016 First Kiss finalists:

Marianne Bankovic

Kat Colmer

Antoinette Hodge

Sue Knight

Samara Parish

Michelle Skidmore.

The finalist entries will be read by our fabulous final judge, Meghan Farrell of Tule Publishing.

Congratulations to all our entrants, and thanks as always to our hardworking volunteer judges and the contest manager, Tricia Sargant.

New Releases from RWA members

Can you believe that it is March already? What happened to January and February?! hope you got some reading in before the days vanished. If you’re looking for something new to read, try one of these new releases from our members. There are some great titles on offer.

HTMar16 - new releases.jpg

Little Gems 2016

The results are in!  The stories have been entered, judged and ranked.

Congratulations to our Little Gems 2016 placegetters!

1st – Victoria Steele – Treasure and Trust

2nd – Monique Hall – Breaking Free

3rd – Cat Whelan – For Love Of A Pug

 

In addition to the placegetters, the following top-scoring stories will also be invited to participate in the Little Gems Sunstone anthology for 2016:

Heidi Catherine – The Sunstone Heart

Suzanne Cass – Solar Flare

Melanie Coles – The Heart Of Stone

Fiona Greene – Follow Your Dreams

Emily Hussey – In the Cards

Jillian Jones – An Enticing Proposition

Emmeline Lock – Say The Words

Fiona Marsden – The Sunstone Inheritance

Fiona Marsden – The Sunstone Bride

Michelle Skidmore – Lights Will Guide You Home

Camille Taylor – The Healing Gift

 

And we have fabulous cover art! The winner of the 2016 Sunstone Cover Art Contest – for a record fifth time – is Sheridan Kent, with this outstanding design:

 

Little Gems Cover 2016

Remember, this year Little Gems will be going digital, so you’ll be able to admire this lovely work – and read our members’ amazing stories! – on-screen as well as in print.

Congratulations to all who entered both contests. As usual, competition was fierce.

Thanks as always to our volunteer judges, Little Gems manager Lis Hoorweg and the Cover Contest judge, David Whitbread of DW Design.

 

 

Australia’s Bestselling Books in 2015

As I have remarked before on this blog, getting reliable figures on book sales in Australia is – to say the least – challenging. Nielsen’s research is largely accurate for retail shops, but doesn’t include many speciality stores or any ebook sales. Sigh. However, it is still interesting to monitor trends as revealed by ‘bestseller’ lists. I was very pleased to see three women’s fiction titles listed. So here are the top ten best-selling Australian books for 2015, according to Nielsen Bookscan. Let’s hope we can access some romance figures soon.

  1. 714,000 The combined Treehouse series books by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton)*
    1. The 65-storey Treehouse
    2. The 52-storey Treehouse
    3. The 39-storey Treehouse
    4. The 26-storey Treehouse
    5. The 13-storey Treehouse
  2. 81,000The Dressmaker (Rosalie Ham), film tie-in edition
  3. 77,000The Husband’s Secret (Liane Moriarty)
  4. 70,000 – Family Food: 130 Delicious Paleo Recipes for Every Day (Pete Evans)
  5. 69,000 – The Lake House (Kate Morton)
  6. 68,000 – I Quit Sugar: Simplicious (Sarah Wilson)

 

* Books+Publishing rather dismissively did not list the individual Treehouse titles. However, there are currently only five books in the series. I have listed them from the most recent release at #1 to the oldest book at #5.

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