I recently participated in the magazine “the year of publication 2021: ongoing opportunities and trends”, an online publishing seminar of the Ingram Content Group. The whole presentation was encouraging and fascinating.

One moment caught my attention at the presentation of Pete McCarthy, Director of consumer Knowledge at Ingram Book Company. He is a man who is committed to being at the forefront of trends among readers. With his permission, I will share some of these trends with you.

Visible trends

He emphasized the trends before and during the recent times. Note that the growth of the e-book and audiobook markets is good, but perhaps less than we expected. The print was essentially flat as the reading goes up in any format. It may have decreased compared to 2011, but not much.

This is great news. People always like to read books!


He described 33% of book readers as omnivorous. You will read a book in any format, depending on the price, availability and other factors. These people just want to read.

Then he shared information that shows that most people buy books online and in body stores.

What should be noted here is that the modern consumer will buy a book in any format and from the most convenient place.

Electronic books

Then he delved deep into the statistics of e-books.

Have e-book sales increased or decreased? He said that the answer is nuanced, the range is gender-dependent. Fiction for matures has risen well by 6% with some areas. In general, he sees a global growth in e-books.

But then he showed something fascinating.

Non-property Reading

Reading “without ownership” refers to areas such as Kindle Unlimited and libraries, where it is possible to borrow and read a book without necessarily being tracked in sales figures.

This area is growing significantly, but does not appear in the trend charts.

The Invisible Readers of the Future

There is another readership that does not appear on any of the graphs, an invisible demographic.

Most of the statistics we track relate to matures, but young readers interact with stories in a completely different way.

Wattpad, Web Toon and others are very popular among young readers. These are sites and apps that get numbers like 400 million monthly visits with an average time on apps more than 20 minutes on each visit. Wattpad’s online statistics show that it had 90 million monthly users in November 2021.

If you haven’t seen these places before, they are places where people share stories. Like Kindle Vella, these stories are often published regularly or episodically. These stories are usually free, often supported by patreon or co-fi donations.

And there are more places like this. Places like one of us that my daughter loves. She loves the fresh and unusual voices of the authors. She likes that it’s a place where fans can hang out and write fan fiction, as well as create new worlds in new ways. Here are their statistics from 2020, where they tracked more than 50 million views per day.

These statistics and trends are difficult to compare and quantify with industry standards, but they are examples of digital reading. According to Pete McCarthy, this is a massive trend. He said he doesn’t want to overreact, but he thinks this is a trend worth watching closely.

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