Feb
19
2016

Millennials Are Readers, Too

Oh, “millennials”. It’s all about those crazy millennials. Supposedly that group consists roughly of anyone born between 1980 and 2000. Which currently means anyone age 15 to 36. (Wait. That means I’M a millennial. Interesting). Personally I don’t like to label anyone specifically anything, but I do enjoy knowing the commonly accepted definitions of such terms. You know, so I can find ways to subvert them! I’m sure there are many people in their thirties who do not think of themselves as “millennials”. What, in terms of taste and style, does it mean anyway? …nothing, except that it’s one way to track perceived trends with the younguns. Then again, the term probably has less baggage than “hipster”. I’m getting side-tracked. It’s a talent, doncha know.

In the week or two leading up to Valentine’s Day we ran a facebook ad campaign directed visitors towards our website, and these are the numbers we got back:

According to these numbers, nearly a third of the people who clicked on our ad are 16-24 (55 clicks) and with adding the 25-34 age bracket, that means that just over half of the clickers are millennials (87 clicks versus 84 for ages 35+). That’s nice to see. I wonder what the age breakdown is with our eBay sales. I’d be stunned if a third of our eBay customers are 18-24, but then again I don’t think I’d be surprised if most of our buyers are in their thirties and forties. With selling textbooks on Amazon our demographic is pretty squarely students, so most of our customers probably are under 35.

What draws millennials to be more than half of facebook users who clicked on our ad? The optimist’s answer is of course that they really like bookstores. They like to read. Moreover, they like to read in print. That’s a lot to assume from the very small pool that this chart represents, but hey. It might actually be a relatively accurate reflection of the larger picture. Have some relevant articles:

Of course millennials are big readers. We had Harry Potter! Anyone who can sit down and devour a seven book series of ever-increasing page length will probably find other books to feed their hunger once they’ve sucked all the crumbs stuck in the gutters of the pages of the final book in that series.  … No kidding, though; I think the rise in popularity of the young adult fantasy/adventure genre fueled a generation of readers. And reading begets more reading, if you enjoy it. You expand your horizons to other genres and topics, which people do, not that that has dulled the popularity of YA fantasy. It’s like when we started this website and were talking about the blog: “What are we going to write about?” inquires one young colleague. “Our days are boring; people aren’t going to be interested in reading about what we do.” Which is silly. We don’t have to write about what we do, but about what we work with. Books! Books can be about anything and everything! You can blog about anything so long as you can tie it back in some small way to books. Our audience is people who read.

What does all this mean for us at Tom The Book Guy? I’m not sure. I mean, we sell books. All kinds of books. Any old book that appears to have potential monetary value. We might check if the book has sold recently on eBay, and for what price. We check what it’s currently listed for on Amazon, and make note of the rank. Depending on the book, we might check other book sites to see what it’s listed for. My point is that NONE of the information we look at has anything to do with the age of the likely buyer. As long as someone’s interested, it doesn’t matter what demographic they fall under. And selling online, we often have very little idea beyond what the purchaser’s name suggests.

So. Good to know all of our customers aren’t just going to die off one day with no one to replace ’em.

And when the older generations do throw off their mortal coil, family of the deceased are always welcome to call us up! We’ll take a look at the books, and start the cycle all over again! It’s almost funny how many of our suppliers are aging widowers winnowing away their partner’s unwanted possessions. Or maybe I just have a morbid sense of humor and a love of alliteration.

(Header images taken from here and here.)

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