Andromeda: Book Event Survey — What You Had To Say

Readers wasted no time in taking our survey about book and author events last Wednesday. Thanks for that! Here’s what you had to say. Would love to hear from more booksellers on their reactions.

The vast majority of you (70%) think that more events would be nice.
Another 17% are starving for more events. Only 3% emphatically preferred to stay home.
When are you likely to go? When you’re interested in the subject (average rating of 3.25 on a 4-point scale — anything higher than 3 “matters a lot”) or have heard of the author (2.94), even if that author is not necessarily “notable” (2.5).
Next in descending level of importance, not meriting a “matters a lot” or better rating: Whether the event matches your schedule (2.84), location (2.41), whether you personally know the author (2.31), and ease of parking (2.19).

These are the things we don’t necessarily care about: whether we know someone else attending, or whether the author is from outside of Alaska.

Two things actively deter people from attending. Not enough advance publicity, or finding out soon enough to make plans (3.17 on 4-point scale). Also, people strongly prefer actual talks or readings to signings; the difference matters to all but 20% of those surveyed and people followed up with specific comments in favor of author talks.
A few surprises: those surveyed cared only a little, or not at all, about: the weather (really?), whether a book is self-published, and whether they felt any pressure to buy a book. So take that, and a thumbs-up to the self-published folks willing to brave blizzards in order to hand-sell their books!
We had a lot of UAA Bookstore fans take the survey. Next in line were folks who had attended events at Title Wave, Metro Music and Books, First Fridays, Barnes & Noble, Fireside, Anchorage Museum, and — last in place — Borders.
People’s final comments adhered to a few repeated themes. People begged for more publicity and advance notice, applauding sites like this and all other attempts to get the word out. They cursed certain bookstores that have reduced events and cheered those bookstores that keep trying. Several said they enjoy Q & As after events, and made suggestions about other ways to make events more interactive, for example with discussions or other gatherings following an author talk. (Interesting!) And finally, one plug from a Juneau resident wishing that authors could make a pit-stop there as well.
Thanks everyone — I’ve learned from all this and been surprised as well. Many of us would like to see book/author events remain an important part of a vibrant Alaska literary scene.

2 thoughts on “Andromeda: Book Event Survey — What You Had To Say”

  1. Interesting ideas here! It occurs to me that some of us are hungry for face-to-face contact with writers. Blogs and other electronic media can whet our appetite, but at some point we want to see and hear the person in real life.

  2. That idea of some gig after a reading made me think (positively) of a fireside gathering in a home with wine. Up close and personal. When one reads writer and poet bios, there is invariably reference to the writer "hating" this kind of thing. But, as a writer, I wouldn't hate such gatherings around my work and as a reader it would be wonderful.

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