Thank you to the 246 respondents who took the time to answer our 2016 Readers' Survey. The full report is available to download as a PDF here.
I think your magazine does a great job promoting emerging writers, while also celebrating and encouraging more established authors to continue to write and publish. —Reader
Room is the only magazine that I read that has a well-defined goal of addressing the issue of diversity through its content, contributors and volunteers. —Reader
Carry on. We need Room in the national literary conversation. —Reader
Some highlights include:
56.5% of respondents were current or past subscribers to Room, while 43.5% of respondents had never subscribed to the print magazine. Readers over the age of 40 were more likely to be subscribers (68.8% past or current subscribers) than readers aged 39 or younger (45.2% past or current subscribers). However, younger readers were more likely to have purchased a single issue: 60.5% of readers aged 39 or younger had bought a single issue on a newsstand or our website compared to only 42.2% of readers aged 40 and older. 32.4% of subscribers said they would definitely renew their subscription, and an additional 38.1% of subscribers said they would "likely" renew.
Why Do Our Readers Read Room?
The most popular reasons for reading Room were (1) To support women's literature (68.7%), (2) To read fiction, poetry, and CNF (63.8%), and (3) To support Canadian literature (63.4%). 80.5% of readers said that the fact that Room only publishes authors and artists who identify as women or genderqueer was important to them.
Poetry was the most popular genre on both our website and the print magazine.
54.5% of readers said they believe Room represents diverse groups of women, while 43.4% of readers said that Room somewhat represents diverse groups of women (depending on the issue). Only 2% of readers said that they believed Room did not represent diverse groups.
Subscribers found Room to be more diverse compared to people who had never bought a subscription.
Readers aged 39 and younger were more likely to say they found Room to be diverse (58%) compared to readers aged 40 or older (50.5%). A recurring theme in our open-ended responses was a call for better age diversity by including more older contributors, which may explain this discrepency, in part.
I stopped buying my subscription because I didn't feel the magazine related to me. I submitted my work in the past to your contests but I realized they don't fit the style of writing you are looking for. I am older (age 76) than the age group Room caters to and often find the stories have little appeal for me. I do like Room and was happy to support it and read it. I found it exciting many years ago but no longer feel the same way. —Reader
While it's nice to have fresh new writing, it would be nice if it felt like the magazine also catered to those of us over 40, and published something that we might like to read. —Reader
Additional open-ended feedback—primarily concerning diversity—is included in the full report.
Room readers are mostly women (94.2% of survey respondents), and—with the exception of the very young (under 20) and very old (over 70)—are represented in roughly equal distribution across all ages.
94.1% of readers identified as feminist, compared to only 71.3% of respondents in our 2013 Readers' Survey.
Room readers who lived in Canada (88.6%, or n=207) were most likely to live in either British Columbia (39.1%) or Ontario (36.7%). This distribution is also represented roughly in our social media following, and our subscribers (34.58% of subscribers are from BC, and 30.41% are from Ontario). This points to a need to expand Room's readership beyond these two provinces and their major cities.
I still find [Room magazine] 'favours' west coast writers which is a shame - this wide country has such diverse cultures —Reader
Meghan Bell is the publisher of Room magazine.