Maybe You Can Judge a Book by its Cover…People are what, and how, they read…

We all like to group things into categories to make them easier to handle. Marketers have been guilty of doing this for ages – defining demographic cross sections of people in efforts to determine who might purchase their products and services. And human resources look for distinct personality traits to fill certain roles in an organization. For instance, you wouldn’t want a sales associate with a shy and retiring personality, would you?

According to Wikipedia, Demography is the statistical study of populations, including human beings; and encompasses the study of the size, structure, and distribution of these populations. Through the studies of various traits and criteria, data is gathered which leads to probabilities or demographics – which are quantifiable characteristics of a given population.

For instance, in the example of judging a person by what they read – based upon demographical data of a variety of publications – we can make predictions about people based upon readership. Case in point, a PEW Research Center Study ‘A Snapshot of Reading in America in 2013’ shows that ‘as of January 2014, some 76% of American adults ages 18 and older said that they read at least one book in the past year. Almost seven in ten adults (69%) read a book in print in the past 12 months, while 28% read an e-book, and 14% listened to an audiobook.’

The demographic data show that those with higher levels of education and income tend to read more books in print, e-books, and audio books across the board. In another study, self-made millionaire Steve Siebold, discovered through interviews with 1,200 of the world’s wealthiest people that they all have one thing in common – they read. “Walk into a wealthy person’s home and one of the first things you’ll see is an extensive library of books they’ve used to educate themselves on how to become more successful,” Siebold writes. “The middle class reads novels, tabloids, and entertainment magazines.” Rich people would rather be educated than entertained.

In the most recent ‘State of the News Media 2015’ report from PEW, ’39 of the top 50 digital news websites have more traffic to their sites and associated applications coming from mobile devices than from desktop computers’ showing that we love our mobile devices – but desktop visitors tend to spend more time on sites perusing. On the flip side of this online growth is the declining trend of newspaper readership (down 3% in 2014), and newsmagazine circulation, as well as cable news viewing – down 8%.

“In terms of book format, women are more likely than men to have read a print book or an e-book, and younger adults are more likely than those ages 65 and older to have read e-books, as are those who live in urban and suburban areas compared with rural residents. Finally, adults with higher levels of education are more likely to have read audio books than those who did not attend college,” from ‘A Snapshot of Reading in America in 2013