Mecenat Insights – about books and reading

Now the holiday has started for the students and even though most of them will work this summer, they will get time off from the course literature. We have conducted a survey on how and what the students read when they can choose freely and where they prefer to buy their books.

The regulations and restrictions that have characterized the last 16 months have created new habits and routines for most people. This also applies to students. Some of them have used this change to create more opportunities for reading. Almost one third, 31 percent, state that they read more books today, that are not course literature, compared to before the pandemic.

Amazon uphill
When we ask about which online retailer, they prefer to order their books from, students indicate Adlibris with a margin, while Bokus comes in at second place. It is worth noting that Amazon does not seem to have made an impact in the student group yet, at least not when it comes to book sales. They end up far down the list with only three percent of the students stating that they prefer to buy their books from Amazon.

Many people prefer physical bookstores
Another remarkable result is that an unexpectedly high number of students answer that they prefer to buy their books over the counter in a physical bookstore. That option ranks at third place after Adlibris and Bokus.

When asked what type of books the students prefer to read, fiction is at the top of the list, followed by fantasy and detective stories. Among the respondents, there is also a small but noticeable proportion who prefer to read course literature, even when they are free to choose any genre.

Market shares to take for the audiobooks
When we do our surveys, we usually get quite clear indications that students are quick to adopt new technology and new behaviors. Therefore, it is with some surprise that we note that only 12 percent state that they prefer audiobooks, while 62 percent choose to read them in the traditional way on paper. The remaining 26 percent mix their reading experiences between audiobooks and paper.

Of the eight audiobook providers we had as an answer option, Storytel dominates, followed by Nextory. Then the library comes in third place which was higher than we expected. They are obviously still an important institution also when it comes to audio books. Something that was expected, however, is that the sharing economy retains its grip on the books. 68 percent of students buy or sell used books.

The survey was answered by 1,235 students. The recipients are randomly selected from Mecenat’s users and then the result is weighted by gender and age against the total Swedish student population.