Are Online Readers Looking for Good Reads or Quick Reads?

Image from: cosma/Shutterstock

It seems that I’m always on the hunt for a new good book, but that I’m never taking the time to read the ones I have. I don’t actually need to buy any more books – I have about 5 unread ones sitting on my shelf at home! Interestingly enough, I spend most of my day reading short articles online and converting those I find important into 140 character tweets. It seems that nowadays people have time for a lot of little consumption but not enough to dedicate towards a larger published text. Thinking about this odd phenomenon and of course wanting to see what good reads were out there, I decided to check out and then the site’s health on Compete PRO.

Maybe people are still taking the time to read books apart from all of their tweeting, texting, and Facebook stalking! Or maybe, these visitors are just like me in that they love to discover new books but don’t make the commitment to finish them. Since is experiencing phenomenal growth, I wanted to understand what brought people to the site in September. Were they searching “Good books”, “What to read”, “Novels”, “Steve Jobs Biography” or “I can’t seem to find the time to read but can’t stop tweeting”?

KeywordSearch Referrals SharePaid ShareNatural ShareAverage Time IndexTotal Time Index
quotes about life3.01%5.72%94.28%1.4264.32
marilyn monroe quotes2.12%5.31%94.69%1.3141.83
bob marley quotes0.62%0.00%100.00%1.2611.76
good reads0.58%0.00%100.00%2.7924.27
tupac quotes0.31%4.85%95.15%1.235.78
"nightshade city"0.29%--1.948.38
taylor swift quotes0.24%5.88%94.12%1.14.05
life quotes0.23%0.00%100.00%1.665.7
nicholas sparks quotes0.22%0.00%100.00%1.234.13
yahoo mail0.20%--2.938.96
eminem quotes0.20%26.85%73.15%0.92.71
audrey hepburn quotes0.18%0.00%100.00%1.112.92
lady gaga quotes0.13%0.00%100.00%1.312.62
dr. seuss quotes0.12%0.00%100.00%1.532.86
quotes about life lessons0.12%0.00%100.00%0.811.45
dr seuss quotes0.12%10.36%89.64%1.682.97
marilyn monroe0.10%0.00%100.00%1.962.87
maya angelou quotes0.10%0.00%100.00%2.994.35
quotes by marilyn monroe0.09%0.00%100.00%1.241.75
mother teresa quotes0.09%--1.772.34
joyce meyer quotes0.09%0.00%100.00%1.451.9
famous quotes about life0.08%0.00%100.00%1.812.23
quotes on life0.08%0.00%100.00%5.26.08
eat pray love quotes0.08%0.00%100.00%0.720.83
sarah's key0.08%0.00%100.00%0.50.57


Interestingly enough, I noticed that a lot of searches included references to quotes. When I did an analysis, I found that actually 24% of the search referral data included “quote” or “quotes”! I had no idea that people went to to find a “good quote”. To me, the term “good read” implies the image of taking time to cozy up and enjoy a nice long book. I decided to see outgoing traffic from that was lost to competitive sites.

Outgoing Traffic from (Timeframe: September 2011)   
Destination SiteIndustry CategoryMonthly Outgoing ShareChange in Share
librarything.comReading and Writing0.22%24.58%
brainyquote.comReading and Writing0.20%19.45%
thinkexist.comReading and Writing0.15%4.46%
paperbackswap.comReading and Writing0.15%4.76%
scribd.comReading and Writing0.12%24.13%
smashwords.comReading and Writing0.12%137.94%
allpoetry.comReading and Writing0.09%56.16%
searchquotes.comReading and Writing0.07%-24.72%
tthfanfic.orgReading and Writing0.05%-1.01%
great-quotes.comReading and Writing0.04%19.05%
mangafox.comReading and Writing0.04%57.03%
quotegarden.comReading and Writing0.03%-10.19%
allreaders.comReading and Writing0.03%68.39%
online-literature.comReading and Writing0.03%-48.09%
nypl.orgReading and Writing0.03%60.32%


As it turns out, out of the top 15 sites people went to after in September, 5 of them were sites specifically dedicated to quotes.

It seems funny to me that such a large percentage of Good Reads visitors are those perusing for quotes- not books! Sure, quotes are shorter, consumable, and yes tweetable, but are we really all so pressed for time that we are generally more attracted to packaged words than a book? It makes sense if you look at status updates, tweets, and texts. We have been taught to say as much as we can with as little space and in turn, consume smaller bits of information.

My question is: Are we saying enough? Do the character limited updates lead to too much quantity and not enough quality? What do you use for? Do you find that you have enough time during the week to read larger published texts? Is that something you’re even looking for anymore?

About Jen Duguay:
Jen Duguay joins Compete to take on all things social media. She comes from a social issue background, most recently having worked for the Social Innovation Forum, the venture philanthropy arm of Root Cause, a nonprofit research and consulting firm. Jen's interests include singing, marketing, running, art, making guacemole, and using social entrepreneurship to tackle world issues. She has spent time in Belize and the Dominican Republic working on microfinance initiatives and recently traveled to Kenya where she studied the public healthcare system. Follow Jen @jenduguay on Twitter.