Way back when my first blog, Nonfiction Readers Anonymous, crashed and died, I started Citizen Reader with the idea to still focus on nonfiction, but also to discuss reading. Although we have had some great discussions here, particularly during our Book Menages (another one of which I want to host soon), I feel that I have to some extent failed in my mission to find out more about how readers read.
So what to do?
Well, the only obvious thing to do is to start the Great Citizen Reader Survey of 2011. How's it going to work? I'm going to ask a few questions here, and I'd love it if you'd take the time to answer them. It would also REALLY make my day if you'd ask just one other reader you know (you can ask more if you want!) to fill out the survey as well.* Then, I promise I will collect and share the results here, sometime in 2012. Here's how we'll work it, and why:
1. I know this sample will self-select for people who are already dedicated readers. That's part of the plan; I want to know how real READERS go about their reading business.
2. I would like to use the results of this survey in readers' advisory and library trainings and writing, but I'm really undertaking this primarily out of personal curiosity and for dissemination here. I'm also doing it because I'm hoping it will force me to learn to use Excel or something like that, to tabulate the results. And I would very much like to make some sort of survey an annual event here at Citizen Reader. Currently it's hard to find stats and info about readers--publishers' groups study readers and their buying habits, but they make you pay big bucks for their information. BOO.
3. I am not using Survey Monkey or other online survey software because mainly you have to pay for that stuff, particularly to keep your results. BOO.
4. You can answer these questions completely anonymously. (This is another reason I'm not using any survey software; I don't want a third party service to have your email address or other info either.) I will ask for demographic information because some of that is what really interests me (as it relates to what you read), but you will not have to provide your name, and even if I see your IP address, I am not technologically savvy enough to figure out your name from that, and at this time I have no plans to create an email subscription list or anything like that.
5. I'm going to ask the questions at the blog here, and make that post a permanent page that will be linked to in the right sidebar. You can answer the questions within the comments (just type Anonymous in the name spot, or use whatever alias you want to use), which I will eventually just collect and then delete from online viewing. You could also simply copy and paste the questions into an email, and then submit your answers to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are we ready? Questions tomorrow, and then I'm off for Thanksgiving week. I'll leave the survey page up through the end of December! Thanks so much for doing this with me.
*I originally got the idea for this kind of quantitative survey after reading an article in the book Nonfiction Readers' Advisory (edited by Robert Burgin), titled "Reading Nonfiction for Pleasure: What Motivates Readers?" by Catherine Ross.