Kiwis are buying more hardcopy books and are reaching for titles featuring; feminist literature, self-help and romance according to new data.
New industry research from Nielsen among the country’s 2.5 million book readers has found that 80% of Kiwis only read hardcopy books; compared to just 5% who only read digital e-books and a further 14% read a combination of the two*.
Books are the fifth most purchased item online - behind airline tickets, clothing, entertainment, and travel services such as hotels with almost 600,000 Kiwis having bought a book from a website in the last year**.
Additional data from Book Depository, a leading online book retailer, shows their orders to New Zealand are up by 45% in the past three years.
It also shows Kiwi readers have a penchant for self-help books including The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, which ranks fifth on the top 10 books for total NZ sales on the site***.
The company’s analysis also shows that along with self-help tomes, Kiwis are purchasing feminist inspired titles like Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid's Tale, and popular children’s book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, both titles featuring in the top 10 books sold so far in 2018.
Surprisingly, while New Zealand is often perceived as a nation enthralled with rugby, racing and beer, the new figures show that deep down Kiwis are really just a bunch of romantics.
The total number of romance novels sold through the UK based site in NZ is up by 9% over the past 12 months.
Javier Rosales, commercial director for Book Depository says there has been a significant increase in the number of books sold in the romance category which he puts in part down to a best-selling Kiwi author.
“One new book in particular A Year at Hotel Gondola by New Zealand author Nicky Pellegrino has really spiked sales in this category since it was launched early this year,” he says.
Pellegrino has 10 books in 12 languages and has sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide. She says her latest book set in Venice is about love, food and friendship.
“All of us need the escape from our everyday lives that romantic fiction provides. A Year At Hotel Gondola has had especially amazing support from the bookselling community and I’m thrilled so many people are reading and enjoying it,” says Pellegrino.
Rosales says outside of romance titles the largest category of books ordered by Kiwis is children’s books.
“Almost a third (29%) of the books purchased in New Zealand are for children, which is more than the next most popular category, non-fiction (24%),” says Rosales****.
He says bookdepository.com is now one of the top 30 online shopping destinations***** for Kiwis with around 6% of the total population considered an active subscriber and says their growth in sales in this country is driven by the offer of free delivery to New Zealand on 19 million titles.
“The Nielsen data shows New Zealanders buy almost five million hardcopy books per year****** and our own figures have found Kiwis are the second highest consumers of physical books among the 160 countries we supply to,” he says.
Rosales says while some adults have turned to e-books, many parents prefer to keep their children away from devices.
“Research has found parents and children prefer to read hardcopy books together when compared to digital, and another recent Australian study has found reading with parents is necessary for a child’s cognitive development.*******
“I believe readers make an emotional connection with the story as they turn the pages, and I think this is why we are continuing to see growth in book sales in New Zealand and in our other countries,” says Rosales.
According to Book Depository data, the top 10 books sold nationally so far in 2018 are; Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Wonder, The Barefoot Investor, Milk and Honey, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Sapiens, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, Have You Filled A Bucket Today?, 5 Ingredients - Quick & Easy Food and The Handmaid's Tale.
*Source: Nielsen Consumer Media & Insights Q3 2017 - Q2 2018. Base: All People 10+, who are a Book Reader or Digital Book Reader. (Percentages rounded to zero decimal places).
**Source: Nielsen Consumer Media & Insights Q1 - Q4 2007-2017. Base: 18+ who have made a purchase online in the last 12 months
***Book Depository unit sales in 2018 to 31st Aug
****Nielsen Book Report 2017
*****Nielsen Consumer & Media Insights Q1-Q4 2017 - March 2018
******Nielsen Book Report 2017