Suspend Your Disbelief

Shop Talk |

New Yorkers heart books and satire, want free Times, music

Last week, New York magazine polled 100 pedestrians in SoHo about where they got their information and entertainment and found some encouraging news–at least about books.

Of those polled, 67% spent $50 or more on books in the past year; 19% had spent over $250. (By way of comparison, well under half of those surveyed spent $50 or more on music–whether online or on CD–and 63% said they’d be unwilling to pay anything for online access to the New York Times.)

Additionally, 90% said they did not own an e-reader like the Kindle or the Nook, and 68% said they would not download pirated copies of books even if they were available. In contrast, only 34% said they paid for all of their music, and 11 people said they downloaded all their music illegally “on principle.”

Okay, so it’s hardly a scientific survey. But it makes me wonder how well comparisons to the music and newspaper industries really apply to the book world.

And here’s another interesting tidbit from the survey: when asked “Which of the following nominally free things would you pay for if that was the only way to get them?” only 38 people said they’d pay to be allowed to have sex, 44 said they’d pay for the love of parents and family, and 55 said they’d pay for air. (Really, guys?) But 90%–9 out of 10 people!– said they’d pay for copies of The Onion. Maybe the publishing industry (and the music and newspaper guys) should take a cue from America’s Finest News Source.

Via MediaBistro.

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