US Readers: Books, E-books, Graphic Novels and Magazines Market Report 2022
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“Despite digital devices being central to modern living, the written word – printed in ink and published on paper – still has a powerful resonance with consumers. The challenge for…

US Readers: Books, E-books, Graphic Novels and Magazines Market Report 2022

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The US Book Segment Market Report 2022 identifies consumers’ attitudes towards different book formats (e.g. physical, ePublishing), emerging trends such as the graphic novel market, and the impact of inflation on the US book segment. This report covers the eBook market size, market forecast, market segmentation and industry trends for the US graphic novel market, books market, the US magazine industry, and ePublishing.

eBooks Market Research Report & Industry Analysis

Books have proven to be a resilient market in the past, and continue to be. Consumers consider reading a high priority, however, intent doesn’t always lead to action, especially that most COVID-19-related restrictions have ended. The pandemic years have been good to the US comic book market, which in 2021 recorded a massive increase in sales, brought about by wider distribution in the US due to movies and TV shows. Consequently, this has given the US comic book market more sustainability.

With the reopening of out-of-home leisure and device-focused habits of the pandemic, the reading books and magazines has been sidelined, and the graphic novel market, as well as the wider books and ePublishing market are faced with fierce competition for consumers’ leisure time. The revenue in the eBooks segment and overall book sales have already started to decline in the first nine months of 2022. However, our books and eBooks market research indicates that book sales do well in good economies and, at worst, flatline during bad ones, so even the possibility of an economic downturn in 2023 doesn’t spell doom for the US magazine industry and book market.

Consumer Insights Books

Reading remains relevant. Despite living in a digital era and coming out of a pandemic when life revolved around connectivity, many have purchased a physical book in the past year. It’s apparent that interest in reading, online books graphic novels, and other formats is still strong in our digital day and age. Although digital and video entertainment are dominant leisure activities, reading, according to our eBooks market analysis, continues to be attractive for many US Americans. While many still purchase physical copies, younger generations are more comfortable with digital formats.

The resiliency of books also applies in the face of an economic downturn, which is an encouraging factor for publishers, ePublishing, and booksellers. As prices for goods and services rise, consumers will turn away from restaurants and out-of-home leisure and toward less pricey options such as reading. The generally low price point of online books graphic novels and other formats ensures that reading continues to be accessible. In the worst-case scenario, the US economy hits a recession in 2023 and books sales flatline.

  • US Book Market Consumer Behaviour: 56% of consumers say that they’ve purchased a physical book in the past year.
  • Comic Book Market Trends: Sales in the US comic book market have increased by 62% in 2021.
  • US Book Segment Market Challenges: In our digital day and age, there is constant distraction, and 57% of consumers say that tech is too much of a distraction, preventing them from reading
  • US Book Segment Market Opportunities: 28% have both borrowed from a library and purchased a book from a retailer. There is an opportunity for publishers and booksellers to partner up and take advantage of.

US Book Segment Market Opportunities

With a stable economy and a consumer base settled into their new normal for leisure time, reading will continue to be a popular way to spend leisure time. Social media plays a key role in discovery. Online social platforms are on par with recommendations from friends and family for influencing US book segment market purchases of reading materials. Going forward, TikTok will be an important platform to reach younger audiences such as Millennials and Gen Zs.

Libraries also hold potential to improve revenue in the eBooks segment, and the overall market. There’s evidence that people who borrow from libraries also tend to purchase books, indicating that there’s a library-to-bookseller pipeline that publishers and retailers would do well to cultivate. One may also think of this as a “library-to-library” pipeline: consumers discover books and authors through the library, purchase their works at booksellers and keep them at home to develop a sought-after personal library.

To discover more about the US Book Segment Market, read our US Multicultural Young Adult Leisure Trends Market Report 2022, or take a look at our extensive Media, Boks & Stationary Market Research.

Quickly Understand

  • Participation in the purchasing of physical books, ePublishing, the magazines segment in the United States, and the graphic novel market.
  • What influencers are at play in deciding on what to buy?
  • Where do people preferably buy their reading material?
  • The best formats for reading in different situations.
  • How consumers feel about reading and the importance of book ownership.

Covered in this Report

Products: Leisure books (physical books, e-books, audiobooks, magazines, comic books and graphic novels), ebooks (all books readable on dedicated e-reader devices or through smartphone or tablet applications or desktop/laptop extensions), comic books and graphic novels (single-issue comic books released periodically, comic book compendiums, long-form stories and Japanese manga).

Brands: Amazon (Audible, Kindle), Barnes & Noble, TikTok, Diamond, Penguin (Random House Publishing Services), Big Two, Lunar, Dotdash Meredith,

Expert-Insights into the books and eBooks segment in the United States

This report, written by Mike Gallinari, a leading analyst in the Leisure Time sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends in the US book segment market, and adds expert context to the numbers.

Despite digital devices being central to modern living, the written word – printed in ink and published on paper – still has a powerful resonance with consumers. The challenge for publishers and booksellers is not just helping consumers prioritize reading over other leisure activities but doing so while leveraging devices as assets to reading, not adversaries.

Mike Gallinari, Travel & Leisure Analyst
Mike Gallinari
Research Analyst – Travel & Leisure

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: Outlook for reading materials, 2022-27
                • Key consumer insights
                  • Don’t give up on physical books in the digital age
                    • Figure 2: Reading material purchasing habits, 2022
                  • Libraries are an underutilized asset for booksellers
                    • Comics remain niche but very popular among those interested
                      • Figure 3: Attitudes toward comics and fandom, 2022
                    • Opportunities
                      • Readers want libraries of their own
                        • Figure 4: Attitudes toward physical vs digital reading, 2022
                      • Curated subscriptions can help young readers develop personal libraries
                        • Figure 5: Desired subscription services, by generation, 2022
                      • Commuters are a ripe target for digital formats
                        • Figure 6: Preferred reading format for commuting, by area, 2022
                      • Challenges
                        • Young readers are the most distracted by tech
                          • Figure 7: Attitudes toward reading habits, by generation, 2022
                        • Publishers and retailers need to pierce readers’ insular sphere of influence
                          • Figure 8: Purchasing influences, 2022
                        • Gen Z looks to pass over established shopping outlets
                          • Figure 9: Sources for reading materials, by generation, 2022
                      • Market Indicators

                        • Print sales take an uncharacteristic dip
                          • Comics had a superpowered 2021
                            • Magazines have issues with issues
                            • Market Factors

                              • Inflation has an effect within the reading market rather than on it
                                • Figure 10: Consumer Price Index change from previous period, 2007-22
                                • Figure 11: Consumer concerns, April-November 2022
                                • Figure 12: Inflation behaviors, August-November 2022
                              • Screen time concerns can leave e-books in an awkward place
                                • Americans are reading fewer books
                                • The Role of Libraries

                                  • Libraries, suddenly divisive, are an asset to book retail
                                  • Key Players

                                    • Amazon may be losing its hold on the book market
                                      • Barnes & Noble juggles tactics in its role as gatekeeper
                                        • Diamond’s lapse may usher in a new comics era
                                          • Dotdash Meredith hopes a “…—…” stint means future success for magazines
                                          • Mintel Trends Relevant to Readers

                                              • Trend: Hyper Fatigue
                                                • Trend: International Localism
                                                  • Trend: Me Mentality
                                                  • Readers – Fast Facts

                                                    • Has the pandemic’s tech focus diminished appeal of physical books?
                                                      • How do readers decide what to buy?
                                                        • So physical books are still big. Does this mean in-store purchasing is, too?
                                                          • Do people bring books everywhere? Aren’t e-books more convenient?
                                                            • I’m hearing a lot about the subscription economy. Is there room for that in reading material?
                                                              • How important is reading?
                                                                • What about comics? Are they legitimate?
                                                                • Reading Landscape

                                                                  • Physical books are a resilient format
                                                                    • Figure 13: Reading material purchasing habits, 2022
                                                                  • The future of books isn’t necessarily digital
                                                                    • Figure 14: Reading material purchasing habits, by generation, 2022
                                                                  • Interest isn’t the only barrier for digital formats
                                                                    • Figure 15: Reading material purchasing habits, by HHI, 2022
                                                                  • Owning a library is an important expression of identity
                                                                    • Figure 16: Attitudes toward physical vs digital reading, 2022
                                                                  • Millennials drive the desire for physical volumes
                                                                    • Figure 17: Attitudes toward physical vs digital reading, by generation, 2022
                                                                  • Finances change, but a love of reading endures
                                                                    • Figure 18: Attitudes toward physical vs digital reading, by HHI, 2022
                                                                • Purchasing Influences

                                                                  • It’s hard to reach potential readers from the outside
                                                                    • Figure 19: Purchasing influences, 2022
                                                                  • Instagram and TikTok are the future of social advertising
                                                                    • Figure 20: Purchasing influences, by generation, 2022
                                                                  • Social media is vital to reaching Black and Hispanic readers
                                                                    • Figure 21: Purchasing influences, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
                                                                    • Figure 22: #10Books#10Decades Instagram post, 2020
                                                                  • Leverage social media to break into circles of less-frequent purchasers
                                                                    • Figure 23: Purchasing influences, by number of types of literary media purchased, 2022
                                                                • Sources for Reading Materials

                                                                  • Online wins; physical stores, libraries play a role in obtaining books
                                                                    • Figure 24: Sources for reading materials, 2022
                                                                  • Libraries factor into a reader’s consumption
                                                                    • Figure 25: Sources for reading materials, by number of types of literary media purchased, 2022
                                                                  • Gen Z has an independent streak
                                                                    • Figure 26: Sources for reading materials, by generation, 2022
                                                                  • Consumers seek written content and characters they can connect with
                                                                    • Figure 27: Attitudes toward purchasing, 2022
                                                                  • Gen Zs and Millennials are more opinionated about their purchases
                                                                    • Figure 28: Attitudes toward purchasing, by generation, 2022
                                                                  • Partnering with organizations can amplify diverse inventory
                                                                    • Figure 29: Attitudes toward author identity, by gender and race/Hispanic origin, 2022
                                                                  • There’s no “pricing out” of new books
                                                                    • Figure 30: Attitudes toward purchasing, by HHI, 2022
                                                                • Reading Situations

                                                                  • No matter where, readers generally chase that paper
                                                                    • Figure 31: Preferred reading situations, 2022
                                                                  • Electronic formats have in-roads with urban commuters
                                                                    • Figure 32: Preferred reading format for commuting, by area, 2022
                                                                • Subscriptions

                                                                  • Space and time: important to science fiction, subscribing to fiction
                                                                    • Figure 33: Desired subscription services, 2022
                                                                  • Subscription appeal is about curation
                                                                    • Figure 34: Desired subscription services, by generation, 2022
                                                                  • Audiobook interest is high among Black and Hispanic readers
                                                                    • Figure 35: Desired subscription services, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
                                                                • Reading Habits

                                                                  • Bookseller apps can help wean consumers off of tech
                                                                    • Figure 36: Attitudes toward reading habits, 2022
                                                                  • Gen Zs need help connecting their intent and priorities
                                                                    • Figure 37: Attitudes toward reading habits, by generation, 2022
                                                                • Comics and Fandom

                                                                  • Comics remain on the fringe of traditional book retail
                                                                    • Figure 38: Attitudes toward comics and fandom, 2022
                                                                  • Both men and women are coming around to comics
                                                                    • Figure 39: Attitudes toward comics and fandom, by gender and generation, 2022
                                                                  • Black and Hispanic comic fans love the medium, despite contention
                                                                    • Figure 40: Attitudes toward comics and fandom, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                  • Data sources
                                                                    • Consumer survey data
                                                                      • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                          • Terms

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