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2023 Reader Survey Results

We can’t thank you enough for taking the time to complete the survey and share your thoughts, opinions, and preferences with us. We’ve spent the past week poring over the results of our 2023 Reader Survey, and we thought that you might also be interested to see some of the data.

We value your input, and it absolutely informs our decision-making as we plan for the future of The Book Girls’ Guide. Below the highlights from the 2023 survey results, we’ve included a list of some of the improvements that we’ve made over the last twelve months based on your feedback from the summer of 2022 survey.

Reader Demographics

A total of 930 of you filled out the 2023 Reader Survey. While 97% of respondents currently live in the United States, we also had readers from 10 other countries complete the survey.

Our group has a pretty even mix of age ranges, bookended by three teens and six eighty-year-olds who filled out the survey.

Reading Habits

It can sometimes feel like everyone else has more time to read than you do, especially when you see those end-of-month collages with tons of book covers. But the truth is that reading habits vary widely, and no matter where you fall, you’re in good company. 

Fourteen percent of you report reading 0-2 books per month, 42% read 3-5 books a month, 23% read 6-8 books a month, and 21% regularly read 9 or more.

Favorite Genres

We asked you to tell us your three favorite book genres:

  1. Historical Fiction 1900s & Later – 52% of survey respondents listed 20th-century historical fiction as one of their three favorite genres.
  2. Contemporary Fiction – 51% of survey respondents love contemporary fiction stories that could happen to real people in real settings, and that take place in the same time period the reader is living in.
  3. Detective/Mystery/Cozy Mystery – 39% of survey respondents listed detective stories, mysteries, and cozy mysteries among their top three genres.

We also asked you to tell us all of the genres you enjoy reading regularly in addition to your top three. Here’s the breakdown of the responses:

*The most commonly noted “other” genre was Magical Realism.

Reading Format

We asked you to tell us all of the book formats that you use on a regular basis. We’re glad to see that paper books still get so much love! Seventy-eight percent of you say you hold a physical book in your hands on a regular basis. But of course, you can’t beat the convenience of eBooks, and audiobooks allow many of us to multitask and enjoy far more titles than we could otherwise. We discovered that most of you utilize more than one book format in your reading.

Reading Challenges

Eighty-six percent of survey respondents said they are excited about a new challenge theme in 2024. And 60% are looking forward to participating in one of our existing challenges next year, as well.

Good news! There will definitely be a new challenge theme for 2024! We spent several days working together in Denver, and we’re very excited about the plan we’ve come up with for next year. Our lips are sealed for now, but we’ve definitely taken your feedback into account.

Some of you noted that, at times, it can be challenging to find your first choice book available via your local libraries. While, unfortunately, library availability from one community to the next is out of our control, we have brainstormed a new theme for 2024 that we believe will have a higher percentage of the books readily available.

However, like all of our previous challenges, the 2024 theme will still allow flexibility for you to read within your favorite genres while inviting you to step outside your comfort zone. Mark your calendars for December 1st for the official announcement of next year’s challenge theme and all the details.

You’ll also continue to have access to past challenges in 2024. No matter which challenge you choose next year, you’ll be in good company with many other readers joining you.

Improvements We’ve Made Based on the 2022 Survey Results

We are already brainstorming many new ideas based on your 2023 Reader Survey feedback. You may see some ideas implemented very soon, while others may take a while to make a reality. In the meantime, we thought it would be fun to highlight some of the many improvements we’ve made to The Book Girls’ Guide over the past 12 months based on the 2022 Reader’s Survey results.

  • BOOK GENRES. Learning which book genres are your favorites helped us brainstorm many new book lists over the past year, and helped us prioritize publishing lists we knew you’d love. For example, we’ve written more mystery and thriller lists in the past twelve months compared to prior years.
    • Additionally, after learning that many of our readers enjoy historical fiction set in the 1800s and earlier, we modified the Decades Reading Challenge for 2023 to begin several decades sooner, allowing us to explore books set in the 1880s and 1890s.
  • BOOK CLUB RESOURCES. In the 2022 survey, 41% of you reported that you participate in an in-person book club, and an additional 23% indicated that you hope to join an in-person book club. With this in mind, we’ve added more book club resources this year to make it easier for you, whether you are already in a club or seeking to start your own.
  • AUTHOR GUIDES. You told us how much you love learning more about authors, which led us to create our new author guides, with many more to come.
  • 2023 CHALLENGE THEME. The 2023 reading challenge theme – Read Around the USA – was the most requested/suggested theme in the 2022 survey.
  • GUARANTEED DISCUSSION GROUPS. You told us that you wanted to know in advance which books would have discussion groups at the end of each month. Based on this feedback, we created the “Book Selection Forms” we now send out with the new challenge book lists each month. This allows us to gather feedback about which books you are most interested in reading so that we can provide a list of books that are guaranteed to have discussion groups at the end of each month (while still adding additional discussion groups for books that have enough interest by month’s end).
  • NEW DISCUSSION GROUP FORMAT. You wanted discussion groups that weren’t on Facebook (either because you are not on Facebook or simply because the format wasn’t ideal). This one took longer to implement because it required building a completely custom platform just for the Book Girls’ Guide. Two weeks ago, we launched our brand-new TOGETHER discussion forum. In addition to hosting the reading challenge discussion groups in this new forum, it also provides a place for everyone to chat with fellow readers about other book topics.
  • PRINTABLE VERSIONS OF CHALLENGE BOOK LISTS. You asked for printable versions of the reading challenge book lists. For the 2023 challenges, we’ve created printable journal pages for each monthly book list that are available as a perk for our Buy Me a Coffee BFFs.

We hope seeing these changes encourages you to continue filling out surveys in future years! The improvements are worth every hour and dollar spent on them, but it’s not easy. To learn more about why supporting The Book Girls Guide is important, read this next.



Angela & Melissa

The Book Girls are best friends who jointly read over 200 books per year. We started Book Girls' Guide in 2019 to help others de-stress and find joy through the power of a great book. We do in-depth research on thousands of novels and non-fiction titles each year to provide curated book lists covering a variety of genres.


Monday 17th of July 2023

I'm delighted to have found your site (through a friend's Facebook post, I think), and have participated in all your challenges now for three years. I've suggested your group to fellow readers, and do see a couple of my friends who have joined after me. I love the variety of books featured in your lists, as well as the careful descriptions that help me decide which to choose each month for each of the challenges. I have been introduced to a number of new authors whose works I've enjoyed, and been reacquainted with others I enjoyed in the past but had forgotten about. I am excited to see what you have planned for 2024!

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