Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 11, NO. 8 / AUGUST 1985 / PAGE 8

What sort of person reads Creative Computing?

The average reader of Creative Computing is a male, 37 years old. He has an income of $38,300, uses 2.1 computers at work and at home, and has $10,107 invested in computer hardware and software. His primary computer is equipped with two floppy disk drives, dot matrix printer, monitor, and modem. He regularly uses word processing and database software and writes programs in Basic. This is the profile that emerges from our most recent survey.

The survey form was bound into the February 1985 issue of the magazine and was returned by both subscribers and newsstand buyers--945 in total. Some subscribers who were receiving Creative in place of one of the several magazines folded by Ziff-Davis in the past year took the opportunity to let us (and Ziff) have it with both barrels, but for the most part the survey returns were complete and the comments thoughtful. And we believe the respondents are representative of the readership as a whole.

Computer Ownership

The computers used by readers run the gamut from a single Sinclair ZX81 to three or four IBM PC XTs. Thirty-one percent of readers own (or use) one computer; 34%, two; 22%, three; 12%, four or more; and 1% do not use a computer at all. That works out to an average of 2.13 computers per reader; it is probably easier to say that 68% of our readers use two or more computers--most frequently a home-oriented machine and one or more computers for business purposes.

Apple II computers are the most widely used by readers, with 37% having one or more Apple II machines. IBM PCs, XTs, and ATs are used by 25% of our readers, and PCjrs by another 2%. Add in the 17% who use IBM compatibles, and you get a total of 42% with IBM PCs or look-alikes.

CP/M systems are used by 9% of our readers; nearly half are Kaypros. "Other business computers" are used by 23% of our readers. About one-third are Apple Macs and one quarter are TRS-80 Model 100s. Quite a few Epson QX-10s show up here also. Incidentally, we put the Mac in this category out of deference to Steve Jobs who would like the world to believe that the Mac is a business computer; in fact, 72% of our Mac owners use their Macs at home.

Among home-oriented computers, Atari leads the pack with 21% ownership. This is followed by Commodore (16%), TRS-80 Model 1, III, and 4 (11%), TRS-80 Color Computer (5%), and "other home computer" (14%). This latter category is most likely a TI 99/4A, Timex/Sinclair, PCjr, or Coleco Adam.

The computers used by readers are remarkably well equipped, even those machines normally thought of as "low end." Over 89% are equipped with one or more floppy disk drives, and 13.1% have hard disk drives. Dot matrix printers are found on 77.6% of the machines, and daisywheel printers on 18.8%. Monochrome monitors are on 58.1% of the computers, and color monitors on 39.9%. Over 40% have modems, and just under 20% have graphics tablets or equivalents.

As might be expected, well-equipped machines aren't cheap. The average value of readers' "most used" system (most often a home-oriented machine) is $3178 while the second most used system (most often a business machine) is $4799. The highest average value by brand is for the 111 readers who listed an IBM PC as their second most frequently used computer; on average these machines were valued at $7853.

On average, the readers of Creative Computing are regular users of $7797 worth of hardware and $2310 worth of software for a total investment of $10,107.

Used for Many Things

The readers of Creative Computing tend to be intensely involved with computers, both at work and at home. Two thirds use one or more personal computers at work and at home, while another 9.4% use a personal computer at home and a mainframe or minicomputer at work. Only 4.4% use a personal computer only at work, but 18.6% use one only at home. As mentioned earlier, 1% do not use a computer at work and 94.7% use one at home.

What are these computers used for? Just about everything. Word processing is used by 90% of our readers with 74% using it frequently. Other heavily used packages include database, spreadsheet, graphics, communications, and entertainment software. Lesser, but still significant use is given to educational, financial analysis, engineering, and music synthesis packages.

Basic is the language most often used for programming, with 80% of readers using it frequently or occasionally. Pascal is used by 25%, and a language other than Basic or Pascal (Forth, C, assembly, etc.) is used by 38% of our readers.

Editorial Preferences

With the overall decline of advertising in the personal computer industry and, thus, fewer pages with which to work, we feel it is vital to bring you material of the highest quality and most relevance possible. Readers expressed maximum interest in product previews, information about new hardware and software, technology articles, and the Industry Insider column. Also high on the list are programming tutorials, graphics articles, ideas/philosophy, and the Teletalk Column.

Readers expressed strong interest in reviews and evaluations of all types of computers, printers, and other peripherals, and a wide range of software. As might be expected, interest in our machine-specific columns more or less paralleled the percentage of readers owning the particular machine, although Tandy owners tended to be a bit more vocal than Commodore owners.


The average annual income of readers is $38,300 (including those employed part-time, and students). Considering just those employed full-time adds some $10,000 to the average. The average age is 37 and 92% of our readers are male. Geographic dispersion is similar to the population as a whole with a slight leaning toward the two coasts.

The job titles fall mainly into three broad categories: professional, technical/scientific, and managerial. In addition, 9% of the respondents are not currently employed, being either students or retired.

Over 20% of the readers wrote a comment on the survey form, and many attached several pages. By and large, these comments indicate that our readers are exceptionally knowledgeable and frequently provide advice to friends and business associates as to computer and peritpheral purchases as well as the most effective use of computer systems. The most often heard plea was for more applications tutorials, and, as you have probably noticed, we are now running more of this type of material.

As we have said so many times, we consider all of you part of the Creative Computing family, and with your help and feedback we will continue to evolve and grow together.

Named Works: Creative Computing (Periodical) - Surveys