Friday, October 8, 2010

(Not so)Scientific Findings

This morning I came across this recent Harris Pole showing that mystery, crime and thriller novels are the genre most read. No surprise here. This did cause me to wonder how BayShore Books LLC
resembled what this pole reflects, so I thought I’d spend a few minutes looking at what sells here.

Granted, I will have to accept quite a large margin for error. For instance, the poll includes those who say they read at least one book in an average year while mine will include every book purchased in a year, although I did eliminate all local, event, and bulk order titles which would skew the results. Only the genres of the pole were included but that even leaves room for debate. Stephenie Meyer and Harry Potter are classified as young adult in my system, although I have sold just as many (if not more) to adult readers. We don’t have a separate “chick lit” category, so we just used a “fiction” category. Literature for us includes only classics, the rest are included in fiction.

By now you have probably figured out that my pole in no way, shape, or form reflects the Harris Pole.

Types of books read in the past year

Notice just for fun we used our totals and then broke it down based on new or used

Total                       New                      Used
Mystery                  Fiction                    Mystery
Romance                Mystery                  Romance
Fiction                    Romance                Western
Science Fiction       Science Fiction        Fiction
Western                 Literature               Science Fiction
Graphic Novels      Graphic Novels       Graphic Novels
Literature               Westerns                 Literature
Mystery was no surprise. Romance is more popular here than reflected on the Harris Pole while Science Fiction is not. Could they have counted the young adult titles?

Probably the largest variable not yet mentioned is availability. If we do not have a certain author, title, or genre, we will order it for our customers. Most likely we would sell more of a title on the shelf, though. Of course we order what we sell so maybe that variable isn’t as great as first presumed. Moving on…

For non-fiction we just eliminated “other non-fiction”. What is “other non-fiction” exactly? Did they include cooking, gardening, pets, parenting, reference books, sports, travel? Who knows. Easier to just dump it.


Total                     New                         Used
History                 History                     History
Biographies          Biographies               Biographies
Religion                Self Help                  Religion
Self Help              Religion                    Self Help
True Crime           Political                    True Crime
Business               True Crime               Business
Political                Business                   Political

What I found interesting is that in their poll the number of people who read fiction and those who read non-fiction are pretty even. Here it’s not even close. We sell a lot more fiction. Do we sell more fiction because we stock more fiction or do we stock more fiction because we sell more fiction? The number of non-fiction titles stocked has been reduced over the years based on sales so that answers that question.

The number one author on their poll is Stephen King, followed by James Patterson, John Grisham, Nora Roberts, and Tom Clancy. Remember, this is based on them asking “who is your favorite author” with no regard to what was picked up at a garage sale or borrowed from a friend. Once again taking out local favorites, bulk orders, special events, and my personal opinion; our list isn’t that different. Stephen King didn’t rate quite as high, but James Patterson and Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb did along with Fern Michaels, Nicholas Sparks, and Debbie Macomber.

So there you have it, my not so scientific findings thrown together in a few minutes for no other purpose other than my amusement. Enjoy!

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