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Book market research in Ukraine

Research was initiated and supported by the International Renaissance Foundation, the Fund for Central and East European Book Project (Amsterdam) and the MATRA program of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The research is conducted by GfK Ukraine.

Tasks of the comprehensive research of the Ukrainian book market :

  • To find out what share of Ukrainian population buys books, and what motives are behind these purchases; 
  • To investigate books distribution channels; 
  • To analyse differences among buyers by distribution channels and socio-demographic characteristics; 
  • To study seasonal fluctuations on the book market; 
  • To gather and analyse information about publishers, retailers and wholesalers, operating on the market of Ukraine.

Key findings: Book buyers in Ukraine:

  • Overall, 42% of respondents (aged 15-59 years old) themselves have bought at least 1 book over the past 3 months. 
  • Women buy books more often than men: 51% of women bought at least 1 book, while a share of book buyers among men reached 33% only.
  • The share of book buyers among comparatively younger population aged 15-39 years old amounted to 47%, while among people aged 40-59 years old this indicator is 36%. 
  • Accordingly, schoolchildren and students (52%) as well as housewives (47%) are the most frequent books buyers. Employed respondents buy books somewhat less often (44%). The smallest share of book buyers is observed among pensioners, being only 21%. 
  • Furthermore, the respondents having children under 15 years old in the household also tend to buy books somewhat more often (53%) than those from childless households (34%). 
  • Settlement size: the smallest share of book buyers is reported in the rural area (35%), while the average share of book buyers among urbanites reaches 45%. Differences in book shopping levels among cities of different sizes are not statistically significant. 
  • Region: the share of book buyers is the lowest in the Central and Northern regions. Differences among other regions are not statistically significant. 
  • Over the past three months, the overwhelming majority of book buyers bought from 2 to 5 books (50%), another 37% of respondents bought one book only. On average, women tend to buy more books than men. Also, more books are bought by relatively younger people.

Reasons for not buying books:

  • The most often stated reason is no need for books / no interest in books, with this reason being stated by half of respondents who did not buy books over the past 3 months. Interestingly, this share does not undergo any substantial changes by different age groups. This reason was mentioned by 47% in the youngest category (15-19 years old) and 46% in the oldest age category (50-59 years old). 
  • Lack of money is the second most frequently mentioned reason overall, 19% of respondents stated not being able to afford books, another 11% said that the book they wanted to buy was too expensive. It is noteworthy that the respondents from older age groups (40-59 years old) complain about the lack of money a bit more often than younger people.

Key findings: Books bought by Ukrainians:

  • The overwhelming majority of respondents bought books only for personal use/ for their family 76%. Meanwhile, only 4% bought books solely as a gift.
  • Ukrainians most often bought fiction 39% of book buyers noted that the most recent book they bought belongs to this category. The share of fiction buyers is noticeably higher among comparatively older people 44% for people over 30 years old comparatively to 33% for younger book buyers. 
  • 22% of respondents bought academic or science books, another 6% bought dictionaries and encyclopedias. Such a high share can be explained by seasonal factors, since the survey was run at the beginning of the academic year. The most active buyers in this category of books are young people aged 15-19 46% of people in this age group bought science books, another 10% respondents bought encyclopedias/dictionaries/atlases. For other age categories, the share of buyers of science books makes around 18%.
  • 19% bought children's books. Buyers of this category of books are mostly women aged from 20 up to 40 years old. 
  • Books that non-fiction books (popular science books, biographies, historic literature, cooking books, etc.) were purchased by 14% of respondents. The share of buyers of this category of books is a bit higher among men (17%) than among women (12%). 
  • 60% of books bought by Ukrainians over the past 3 months were in Russian. The share of Ukrainian-language books amounted to 38%, another 2% of books were published in another foreign language. 
  • At the same time, almost half of Ukrainians (49%) during this period bought books only in Russian, another 26% bought books both in Ukrainian and Russian, 26% bought Ukrainian books only. 
  • Books bought in Ukrainian are for most part academic/science books (50% of respondents whose recently bought book was from this category noted it was in Ukrainian) and children's books (56% of respondents). Only 35% of fiction/poetry buyers bought these books in Ukrainian.

Key findings: Books shopping places:

  • The most popular shopping place for books still remains bookstores, where during the past 3 months 61% of people purchased books. Another 12% of book shoppers bought them in book supermarkets. In bookstores and supermarkets, they for the most part buy childrens books, as well as science/academic books. 
  • The second most popular place come to be street book stalls and other public places (subway, railway stations, etc.), where 29% of respondents bought books. The most often bought types of books on street stalls include fiction, with science/academic books bought a bit less often. 
  • 12% of respondents bought books through book clubs, where they largely bought fiction or other types of books, not belonging to fiction. 
  • 4% of respondents noted that bought books in regular supermarkets these are for the most part women, who bought books for children. 
  • 2% of shoppers ordered books directly from producers, these are for the most part buyers of academic and science books. 
  • No significant differences in terms of the most often used books shopping places were observed by region and settlement size.

Tetiana Illiashenko. Book market research in Ukraine (ppt, 2.5MB)




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