RWA has posted the results of its 2008 survey of readers along with industry busting numbers on the romance readership. In 2008, 74.8 million people read at least one romance. (I wonder if they are counting readers of Danielle Steele and Nicholas Sparks and Emily Giffen and the like since those books are denoted as “romance” at least on Bookscan). The largest portion of romance readers are in the south at 37.1%.
The median age is 44.9 years and readers between the ages of 31 and 49 compriise 44 percent of the readership.
Books are most often purchased at a mass merchandiser: Target, Sams, Costco, or Wal-Mart. Second are online sales at 37% (26.4% at an online book merchant and 9.6% “other online”).
More than half of romance readers who read in electronic format do so on a computer or cell phone (not a dedicated device). For romance readers, 5.4% of them are buying/reading e-books, but 90.6% of readers buy a mass market with just under 47.2% buying hardcover.
Readers are more likley to try a new author based upon recommendations, seeing the book at the store or library and advertisements in books that they are currently reading. The most popular online resource for romance readers is the retailer website. (I’m guessing that is Amazon).