Suggestions for Improving Our Reading Survey

Image from Shutterstock

Image from Shutterstock


Our survey on how people read books have received much attention. We’ve had over 100 referrals today from Facebook and LinkedIn, and it’s been a week since the survey started.

I’ve also received some valuable feedback on how the survey could be improved.

My plan is to create a new and better survey, while continuing to let the original run, too. This way, we won’t lose the original data. It won’t be consolidated either. The new survey will start over. I’ll go into the original survey and add the new survey to it, so anyone finding the original can also take the new one.

The purpose of this post is to give you a chance to provide helpful feedback, comments, and suggestions before the new survey goes live. (Doh! Why didn’t I do that the first time?)

I will consider all feedback, but may not be able to accommodate all requests (especially on occasions where two people offer contradictory suggestions), though I will try in most cases.

Multiple Answers

One suggestion was that some questions should allow for multiple answers.

Here’s a sample poll. You should be able to select two or more answers. I’ll make the new survey questions work like this, where relevant.


I set up the poll to block by cookies. It’s not perfect, but helps to prevent multiple voting by the same person that might skew the results. Do you have any strong opinions on this?

1. Which of the following methods do you use to read Kindle e-books?

  • Kindle Fire
  • Kindle Paperwhite
  • Other Kindle device
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Kindle for PC reading app
  • Kindle for Mac reading app
  • Android device
  • Other option not listed above
  • I don’t read Kindle e-books

Would you like to see additional options? If so, which ones?

Suggestions so far include Kindle app for iPhone, Kindle app for Android, and Kindle Keyboard.

Maybe it’s worth knowing both the main preference and seeing all devices used, but that would take two separate questions.

I’ll change this to allow for multiple selections (with no limit).

2. Which of the following methods do you prefer for reading?

  • E-book (any type of digital book)
  • Paperback (any type of softcover)
  • Hardbound (any kind of hard cover)
  • Audio book

The questions asks which you prefer. But I could change the question to ask which of these you read, allowing for multiple answers. If I leave the question unchanged, I think it should only allow for one answer. Maybe it’s worth knowing both the preference and seeing all that are used, though that would take two questions. Another idea is asking which methods would you not use.

Would you prefer the original question, or to change it?

3. Where do you prefer to buy your e-books?

  • Amazon’s Kindle
  • Barnes & Noble’s Nook
  • Apple
  • Kobo
  • Google
  • I don’t read e-books

Would you like to see additional options? If so, which ones?

Suggestions so far include Smashwords, Google, and Gutenberg.

I’ll change this to allow for multiple selections (with no limit).

4. How many e-books do you let your kids read per month (on average)?

  • 0
  • 1-2
  • 3-4
  • 5+

I can add an option for, “I don’t have kids.”

One issue is that it may depend on age… Another issue is that you might babysit or otherwise have an opportunity to let kids read e-books even if you’re not a parent… And what if the kids are grown up?

Would you like me to change the question, add more choices, refine the answers, or anything else?

5. How many books do you read per month (on average)?

  • 0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5+

Would you like me to change the question or add more answer choices?

6. Do you have Kindle Unlimited?

  • yes
  • no

Any suggestions here, like adding a Scribd option?

7. Do you read books by indie authors or small publishers?

  • Always
  • More often than not
  • About half the time
  • Fewer than half the books
  • Never
  • I’m not sure

Any suggestions?

Offline Feedback

One criticism was that this survey only reaches people who go online. This might be quite relevant for the questions regarding print books.

That’s a tough one. If you have any ideas regarding this challenge, please share them.

Other Questions?

Are there other questions that you’d like to see on the survey?

I tried to restrict the number of questions. My feeling was that if I asked too many questions, it may deter participation. I can include more questions, though. If you have suggestions, please share them.

One possibility is where to shop for print books: chain bookstore, indie bookstore, Amazon,, The Book Depository, the library, etc. If you like this question or have suggestions for more answers, please let me know.

Original Survey

Here is the original survey:

Here are the preliminary results for the original survey:

Here is a survey page on my blog. You’ll be able to find both the new and original questions here at any time (well, obviously, not until I add the new ones):

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more

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12 comments on “Suggestions for Improving Our Reading Survey

  1. Uh, does the Nook still exist? I don’t see it on the list, so I’m not sure. Multiple choices is a great idea. Not having it made me feel like I wasn’t being honest. 4 could also have a ‘my kids read paperbacks’ option or something like that. 6 could also have a ‘used to have it’ for Kindle Unlimited. Maybe find out why some people dropped it?

  2. I have not entered the world of technology when it comes to books. For me, there is nothing comparable to the experience of being in a book store, exploring, making a selection and holding it in my hands. Old fashioned I know, but it is me. Grin

  3. This is excellent!

    As Paperwhite has replaced the original Kindle and is gradually being replaced by Voyage, I might combine them in question 1 (Original/Paperwhite/Voyage)

    Best of luck with the survey!

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