Survey Finds Friends and Family to be Key Influence for Readers’ Book Discovery

The Book Discovery Survey 2020 found that friends and family are very influential in how readers discover books to read. The survey asked 490 readers in the United States to indicate their use of book discovery sources. Of the choices, 41.02% of participants said they use friends and family often, and 86.73% said they use them occasionally-to-often when looking for books to read. The Survey was conducted by self publishing expert, Dr. Heidi Thorne, MBA/DBA.

Additional popular occasionally-to-often used sources for book discovery included searching on Amazon or online bookstores (77.76%), physical bookstores (75.51%), and libraries (71.22%).

“While the use of Amazon, bookstores, and libraries was certainly not surprising, the use of friends and family for book discovery was. I certainly expected more modern communication channels such as social media and blogs to have more influence,” says Thorne.

Social media was reported by 48.16% as being used occasionally for book discovery. However, survey participants also report never using book clubs (65.92%), podcasts (59.39%), blogs (58.16%), and book review and recommendation sites such as Goodreads (40.82%) for discovering books to read.

Survey results are being published on Dr. Thorne’s podcast, The Heidi Thorne Show, and her Heidi Thorne YouTube channel. Additional survey insight into book discovery habits will be published as completed. These will include breakdowns of book discovery source choices based on preferred genre (fiction or nonfiction), age, gender, and household income.

For more information on the survey, or to contact Dr. Thorne, use the contact form at