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How Readers Pick What to Read Next

In May 2020, we are proud to say that we have over one million readers across five promotional sites. We recently polled our audience to find out how they choose what to read next, what makes a good book, how much they spend on their reading habit and how they like to connect with authors. Here are our results, and what they mean for authors.

Reader Behavior

Before we get into site specifics, here are some takeaways that held true across readers from all five of our promo sites.

1) A book’s description and book cover are the most important factors for readers when deciding on a book purchase.

What this means for authors: Invest in your covers and take time with your descriptions.

2) An entertaining or unique plot was the most important factor in influencing readers’ enjoyment of a book.

What this means for authors: Your content is important. Books with robust plots and interesting storylines will resonate with readers.

3) Readers consider the average review score when evaluating whether or not to read a book.

What this means for authors: Focus on getting reviews so you have a score for readers to assess. Don’t get sidetracked by a low review here and there. It’s the average that matters.

4) 22% percent of readers are active reviewers that leave book reviews frequently.

What this means for authors: Make sure to put that review ask at the end of your book.

5) If given an opportunity to learn more about authors, our audience agreed that they would most like to know “the author’s inside scoop on characters and storylines from their book.”      

What this means for authors: When creating and sharing content on social and in author newsletters, include details about your characters and storylines.

6) Over 70% of readers use the Written Word Media newsletters as their primary source for finding their next read.

What this means for authors: Running a promotion in a Written Word Media newsletter is a great way for authors to start building a reader audience.

7) Many readers are also Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

What this means for authors: Running a promo will boost your KENP reads.

8) Over 30% of readers read 6-10 books per month and spend up to fifteen dollars per month purchasing books.

What this means for authors: Having other books in a series, or by the same author, will lead to buy-through. Highlighting your other titles in your back-matter can result in future sales.

Site Specifics

That covers the high-level takeaways from our survey. Below we’ve taken a deep-dive into each of our promotion sites and their associated reader behavior:


Bargain Booksy

Red Feather Romance



Freebooksy is our oldest and largest promo site, and, as you might have guessed, it is for promoting free eBooks. Here is what stands out about the Freebooksy audience.

  • The Freebooksy email list is now just shy of 500,000 readers.
  • Our largest genre lists are in popular fiction categories like Mystery (346,000), Cozy Mystery (252,000), and Romantic Suspense (274,000). See up to date list sizes for all genres here.
  • On average, a Freebooksy subscriber reads nine books per month. That’s more than two per week!
  • Not so miserly: Over 42% of readers spent over $5 a month on books each month, with over 18% spending over $15 a month. 
  • Readers love Freebooksy: 77% of Freebooksy subscribers use the newsletter to find their next read.

Bargain Booksy

Bargain Booksy promotes books priced between $0.99 and $4.99. Here’s what we’ve learned about Bargain Booksy readers:

  • The Bargain Booksy email list now stands at over 305,000 readers.
  • 40% of Bargain Booksy readers are also subscribed to Kindle Unlimited, so you can expect to see an uptick in your KENP pages read when you run a promotion.
  • 91% of Bargain Booksy readers use a Kindle or the Kindle App to read books.
  • Eager Learners: while the primary reasons Bargain Booksy subscribers read are to be entertained and relax, over 50% also read to learn. This was more than any of our other sites.
  • 75% of Bargain Booksy subscribers use the newsletter to find their next read.

Red Feather Romance

Red Feather Romance is a Steamy Romance promo site, and this list boasts some of our most active and ravenous readers.

  • The Red Feather Romance email list now stands at over 134,000 readers.
  • Red Feather Romance readers are voracious, with almost half of readers reading over 10 books per month. Almost a quarter of subscribers read more than 20 books per month!
  • Red Feather Romance readers are particularly interested in reading books from authors they’re familiar with. Nearly 70% of readers rated familiar authors as being very important in influencing their enjoyment of a book.
  • A whopping 45% of Red Feather Romance readers are also subscribed to Kindle Unlimited, so you can expect to see an uptick in your KENP pages read when you run a promotion.
  • Readers love Red Feather Romance: 85% of subscribers use Red Feather Romance to find their next read.


NewInBooks is focused on promoting new releases. These readers want the newest hottest reads, and we find that this audience is one of our most unique.

  • The NewInBooks email list stands at over 106,000 readers.
  • Mystery and Romance are the largest genre audiences for NewInBooks, with Fantasy and Science Fiction coming in next.
  • Big Spenders: 25% of NewInBooks subscribers spend over $25 per month on books. That’s more than any of our other audiences.
  • Social readers: NewInBooks subscribers are more likely to engage with others about what they are reading than any of our other audiences. 48% of NewInBooks subscribers talk to friends and colleagues about what they are reading.
  • Clubbed up: NewInBooks readers are the most likely to be part of a book club. 18% find their next read via their club.
  • They crave their weekly email: 60% NewInBooks subscribers use the newsletter to find their next read.


We were proud to break the million reader mark in 2019, but, as always, we are continuing to add new readers and engage our existing subscribers to get authors the results they want. If you have a question about one of our promo sites, feel free to contact us or ask it in the comments below.

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13 comments on “How Readers Pick What to Read Next
  1. I really enjoyed reading this article. I’ve always thought their selection had more to do with the number of reviews. Thanks so much for posting. I’ll be sharing it with my author friends. This is very informative!!

  2. It would be even more helpful to poll your subscribers re how they discover/select books when their primary source is the Amazon website.

    For instance, what % choose based on:

    keyword search
    category browse
    new release search
    best seller search
    ad (by type)
    author new publication alert
    Amazon recommendation
    other (specify)

    1. Hey Reid, great idea! Perhaps we can do some more consumer habits research and learn more about how readers use Amazon.

  3. I look forward to the Written Word Media’s newsletter every month. This is especially true when you release those types of surveys. I find them invaluable to me when planning my book marketing strategies. Thank you for this!

  4. Thank you for providing such great information. I am especially intrigued by #5, where readers most want to know from an author about the characters and storylines. Good information to have as I plan blog and social media posts.

  5. As someone new to the author game and embarking in the journey to be published this is very informative and useful. Thank you for the article!

  6. I overheard the author saying that he resisted blogging until he realized that every blog is a preparation for a chapter in his books. Although she probably knew what that meant better, there are many bloggers who don’t know. I agree that even without being cut and glued together, especially without indicators, it is cowardly and reckless, but never to be called plagiarism by that thought.

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