I’ve finally had the time to put together my stats from last year! I enjoyed plotting them and am excited to share them with you.
I knew I read more library books this year, but I was surprised to see that fully half my books came from the library. I did a lot of putting books on hold as soon as I wanted to read them and once I had books, I felt on deadline to pick them!
I’m not surprised to see I read few ebooks and about an even number of hardcovers and paperbacks. I don’t mind reading ebooks, but I do prefer a physical book and I don’t care if I get paperback or hardcover. Plus for library holds I find it easier to get physical books and rarely pay attention to whether they’re paperbacks or not.
Only a third of my books read this year were an author’s debut work and only a third of these were published in 2017. I’m curious if most books published or perhaps most books really advertised by publishers are not debuts, because I certainly don’t avoid debuts intentionally.
I actually read 48% nonfiction this year! I was very surprised by that since I only read 31% nonfiction last time I did lots of stats in 2014. I could have told you I read the most history and science nonfiction, but I think of literary fiction and historical fiction as my favorite fiction, despite my empirical preference for sci-fi and contemporary!
I read slightly less YA then in previous years, but I’m not surprised to see it makes up so little of my reading this year.
I’m also unsurprised by my preference for all things new and shiny. I’m going to try to read more backlist books this year, but I do find it hard when I can so easily put exciting new books on hold at the library!
If I had a goal for author gender, I’d aim for at least 50% books written by women. As I’ve found year after year, however, I don’t have to pay attention to author gender to achieve that. I really like reading about women in history and that alone tends to steer me towards female authors.
I read slightly closer to even numbers of books by men and women when reading nonfiction. That surprised me, because I did think my preference for nonfiction about women might make the imbalance greater in my nonfiction reading.
Although the vast majority of my books are by American authors, I’m still quite pleased with the number of different countries the authors I read this year call home. Obviously, I could only do my best with the information available online to assign an author a nationality – ditto gender and other demographics.
Continuing my trend of reaching for shiny, new books, the vast majority of authors I read were new to me this year. I’m terrible at making a point of getting to the backlists of authors I love. I’m hoping to do a little more of that this year, but I do like that I’m always discovering new authors.
I’ve always known I’m a fairly generous rater and I like to think it reflects my ability to choose books I’ll love and not to my lack of discernment. I am always tempted to add a more exclusive category beyond five stars or to try to hand out less of them so I have some way to denote my absolute favorites.
Just out of curiosity, I checked and can tell you that I don’t rate significantly differently across author gender; debut vs subsequent works; or fiction vs nonfiction. I may rate indie authors slightly better then others, but I’ve not read enough indie books to say. My ratings aren’t significantly different across publishers or imprints either, but there are so many of each, my sample sizes are pretty small.
In fact, only 6% of the books I read this year are by indie authors. I don’t feel strongly motivated to seek out indie authors and I think you’d have to in order to read more of them.
I suspect my publisher selection mostly reflects the size of these publishing houses. Seems reasonable! I’m not even going to show imprint data, because there are so many of them, I can’t really draw any conclusions there.
I was pleasantly surprised this year to see that approximately 20% of the books I’ve read this year are by and/or feature a main character who is a person of color. (I’ve been a little lazy this year about distinguishing author and character demographics, but that was because in the vast majority of cases, they were the same.) Personally, I want to read books by people who are demographically different from me to gain different perspectives. I also believe that, given a level playing field, author demographics would match population demographics and I like to do my best to make that the case in my reading. According to wikipedia, 30% of people in the US identify as non-white, so I still have a little way to go to get my reading to reflect that.
I’m reasonably happy with the number of books I’ve read that are by and/or feature a main character who identifies as LGBT+. It seems like 10% is about the highest estimate of the percent of the population that identifies as LGBT+, so that’s generally what I’d like my reading to reflect.
I didn’t find anything too surprising here, except perhaps my increased use of the library. I’m generally happy with how diversely I’m reading in terms of both author/character demographics and genres I wish I rated a little more harshly, because I feel like my 5 stars would mean more, but that’s been true for as long as I’ve been blogging, so probably won’t change. I’m thrilled with how much nonfiction I read last year and I hope to read a similar amount this year. I ‘m sorry to report that I can’t predict how I’d rate a book based on any single stat I tracked this year. I am hoping with more years of data that I can eventually identify publishers and imprints that I particularly love though. We’ll see!