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Help us find out more about poetry reading habits

Tapsalteerie are trying to find out a bit more about how people read, and why people buy, poetry pamphlets. We’re hoping that the results will help both poets and publishers to figure out how best to reach readers with their work.

We conducted a wee research pilot study at the StAnza poetry festival way back in March 2017, where we asked people in and around the poetry market to complete our paper questionnaire about their poetry pamphlet buying habits. Now we’ve turned that questionnaire into an online survey so that we can gather information more widely. Follow the link here to complete it – it’ll take just a few minutes and could help the poetry pamphlet publishing community greatly!

Pilot study results

The paper questionnaire included seven questions. Five of the questions were closed with multiple choice answers. One question was open for any comments about poetry pamphlets, and the final question was asking for demographic information. We received 21 completed questionnaires. Demographic information was provided by 17 respondents: most were women (n=14); the youngest was 21, the eldest ‘ancient’; most were employed/self-employed (n=10), students (n=5) and retirees (n=2) also responded.

We asked people about the forms in which they read poetry. Printed books and online were the most popular (n=20/n=19) closely followed by magazines/journals and pamphlets (n=17/n=16). Ebooks were less common (n=4).

For those who didn’t currently read poetry pamphlets the reason was simple: they never come across them. This was an interesting reason given the location the research was conducted. The poetry market includes multiple stalls which are almost entirely selling poetry pamphlets.

People who do buy poetry pamphlets mainly buy them at poetry readings (n=18) or from poets in person (n=16). Book fairs were frequently used (n=12), publisher websites less so (n=9), followed by bookshops (n=8) or a poet’s website (n=6).

Reasons for purchasing poetry pamphlets were varied. The most common reason was seeing a poet read live (n=19). Being a friend of the poet (n=13), receiving a recommendation from a friend (n=12), attractive cover design (n=12), and enjoying poets previous publications (n=12) were also popular reasons for purchasing poetry. Also selected as reasons for purchasing were: reading positive reviews (n=9); the subject/form/style of poetry (n=9); and, attractive internal design (n=8).

Thinking about social media as a vehicle to promote poetry pamphlets, our final question was about the type of content from publishers on Facebook that would encourage people to go on to buy a poetry pamphlet. Audio or video of poets reading their work (n=14) or poems shared from publications (n=12) were the types of content most likely to result in the purchase of a pamphlet, followed by a link to a review of a pamphlet (n=8), a special offer (n=8), or a Facebook Live interaction with a poet (n=6).

And that’s it – once we’ve got a good number of responses from this main study we’ll type up the findings and publish them here on the blog. Thanks very much and please, share that Survey Monkey link as widely as you can!

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