'New Regulars' shift shape of book market

<p>A new group of regular book buyers is changing the publishing industry&#39;s traditional definition of its core market. Research by <em>The Bookseller </em>and consumer insight agency Next Big Thing has found that a new segment of readers, lured by supermarkets and internet retailers, are buying as many books as those who frequent high street bookshops.</p><p>These &quot;New Regulars&quot; are largely drawn from the C2DE social demographic and are fans of crime fiction and true life stories. They generally look to recommendations on the television or radio, as well as advertising, to tell them when new books are coming out. The &quot;New Regulars&quot; now make up well over a third (39%) of the entire heavy readers group, defined as people who buy one or more books every month.</p><p>The rest of the heavy readers segment, covering a third of the UK adult population, is made up of &quot;Highbrow Browsers&quot;: well-educated, ABC1, avid bookshop visitors who get information from newspaper review sections. They favour genres such as literary fiction and travel books.</p><p>The Reading the Future report, to be released on 12th June, says: &quot;Both these types of reader are vital to the industry. But each will clearly respond best to different marketing and retail approaches.&quot;</p><p>The research, based on a clipboard survey of more than 1,000 shoppers, also finds that heavy readers are more price-responsive than any other group. Some 54% of them say that a book&#39;s price influences their buying decisions, compared to 45% of light readers.</p><p>The 50-page report breaks down these groups by age, area, retail behaviour, favourite genres and formats, and responsiveness to publicity and marketing.</p><p>It offers recommendations based on the findings to publishers and retailers to help grow sales. Reading the Future is being presented at a half-day conference in London on 12th June. The findings will be debated by an industry panel including Transworld publisher Bill Scott-Kerr and The Book People c.e.o. Seni Glaister. <br /></p>