2017 Book Demographics

I like to keep track of what I’m reading both for bragging rights – heck yeah I read over 100 books a year! – and also because it’s hard to remember what I’ve read. Patrons ask for book recommendations and there are times when my mind just goes blank and I can’t recall a single book I’ve ever read. Therefore, I’m pretty active on Goodreads if for nothing else then to remind me of what books are out there. I also love a spreadsheet. I don’t like math or statistics in the academic sense, but I do love looking at stuff like this.

Since 2015, I’ve been keeping track of the demographics of the authors that I read that year. I think it started unofficially in 2014 because I thought I was doing a really good job of reading lots of writers of colors and LGBTQ books. This was not really the case. I don’t have the demographics from that year, or at least I don’t want to go back and calculate them, but I recall they weren’t as good as I thought. Cue a come-to-Jesus moment when I realized I had good intentions but wasn’t following through. I think it’s very important for everyone and librarians especially, to make sure that they are reading widely and about a variety of different experiences.

So, I decided I’d try and do better. Here are the results of that effort:

Book demographics table
You’ll notice there are more authors than books, that’s because I tried to count writers and illustrators for comics.

A few stray thoughts:

  • My percentage of writers of color has increased a little bit but still could be better. 2016 and 2017 I was really making an effort and made only minimal gains. Gotta do more!
    • Doing more for me means investigating smaller and independent presses that publish a wider range of stories and authors.
    • It also means reading in all genres, not just sci-fi or fantasy to get the broadest range of authors and ideas.
  • If you don’t know about the #OwnVoices movement you should check that out. It basically wants to encourage publishers to publish writers of color who write from their own experiences instead of a white person, for example, writing about other races/ethnicities/cultures they haven’t personally lived in. I didn’t really track that for 2015 or 2016 but again, I think it’s important to seek out those titles and read them.
    • The #ownvoices books also take into account LGBTQ books that I know are written by LGBTQ writers. LGBTQ books is another category I’m going to incorporate into this year’s list.
  • I always do pretty well reading books written by women but I think it’s funny that each year I’m reading more and more books by women.
  • It will be interesting to see how the Printz Committee affects these numbers for this year. The only thing I know for certain is that the number of books read will most likely increase.

Do you keep track of the demographics of the authors that you read? Do you like spreadsheets as much as I do? Do you have a great system of keeping track that I should know about? Tell me!

 

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