Last week I read this blog post from A Reader of Fictions, where she compiles all the books she read in 2012 and checks what the average rating is for every publisher and their imprints. This post was followed by a similar analysis from Kelly @ Radiant Shadow. Juggling data like this makes my geek-heart beat faster. Such an intriguing approach to study one’s reading and what kind of books are working for yourself and which not (as imprints specialise in genres) and can potentially change your reading pattern for the better.
Anyway, I started eagerly compiling my own data. Luckily you can export easily all your lists from Goodreads and you will end up with one huge Excel-sheet containing all the information connected to the books in your lists. I sorted this list in a way, that I could extract the books I read in 2012 and then I grouped them by publisher and researched which imprint belongs to which main publisher. This sounds boring, but I just love doing this kind of stuff.
And here are the results:
I have read over 300 books from 32 publishers as well as 22 self-published books. To be included in this list I must have read at least 4 books of each of the publishing houses. The average of all books I read in 2012 is 3.85, which is pretty good I must say! Interestingly almost all the major publishers are above my average. I was shocked to see how badly the self-published books score. It is not that I hate self-publishing. The ratings for these 22 books are just all over the place and that almost all my 1 star books of 2012 are in here won’t help either.
I read 10 books from Bloomsbury from 3 different imprints, but due to the lack of data I can only include 2 of them.
I was actually surprised by the low average of 3.85 of Bloomsbury in comparison with other big publishers. Through this is still above my overall average. I knew Bloomsbury since a while and this is one of the first publishing house which replied to a review request of mine. Their Children’s books seemed to be hit and miss at the moment. I loved most of the books I read from this imprint (they also published one of my favourite books of the year; The Throne of Glass) but then there was also a 2-star book in the bunch. But I definitely will not give up on this imprint. Walker books in general are great. Will see how this develops in the future.
I read 40 books published by Hachette from 8 different imprints. I’m surprised about this big numbers and as you can see, most of these books are from 2 imprints alone.
Altogether Hachette books did very well. There is very little difference between the imprints through I have to read more books of most of the imprints to get more representative data. But they are definitely off to a good start. Astonishingly 1 imprint is far below the rest. Forever, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing, which focuses on original romances. All three books were ARCs from Netgalley. 3 might not be enough to draw conclusions, but I will be a bit more choosy when it comes to picking up books from this imprint. Also, all the books I read from Gollancz are written by one author; Nalini Singh. I started with her Psy-Changeling series and read all 11 books in a row and clearly I loved them, as you can see from the average of 4.1! This just doesn’t tell me much about the imprint except that they picked a very good author.
In total I read 35 books published by Random House in 11 imprints. Of 5 of these imprints I only read one book each, so I left them out (through they all had very good ratings!). The results for the rest you can see below.
With an overall average of 4.06 Random House ranks very high but astonishingly the differences between the imprints are bigger than with other publishers. Albeit I didn’t read enough books of most of this imprints to show significant results. Clearly, I love books published by Dell, which are in my case mainly historical romances and urban fantasy books. Dell published some of my absolute favourite books, which I re-read every year. The data from Delacorte Press is completely inconclusive as 5 of these 7 books are from the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. On the whole only 9 of the 35 books were Young Adult and they were scattered all over the imprints. Random House seems to be my adult book publisher.
Simon & Schuster
I read only 15 books from Simon & Schuster, across 3 imprints. 8 of these books were Young Adult and the ones from Pocket Books are Urban Fantasy.
The amazingly high average for Margaret K McElderry books is, unfortunately, not representative as all 4 books are from Cassandra Clare, who I adore. I love adult books from Simon & Schuster, with an average of 4.29 this is very obvious. Also very clear is, that I’m not a huge fan of their Books for Young Reader imprint. I read 4 book who all only scored a 3. Nothing to complain about just interesting. I have to see if this trend will be confirmed in 2013.
Macmillan is another publisher with only a small sample size. I read 17 books from 6 imprints.
I knew Macmillan since a long time and the results shocked me immensely as this publisher ranks with an average of 3.65 below my overall average of 3.85. This is even more surprising given that 3 of my favourite books of 2012 were published by Macmillan.When looking in detail, I realised that especially the books from St. Martin’s Griffin were just standard for me. The rest of the imprints were working better for me, though the sample size is just too small to draw significant conclusions.
Another smaller publisher is Harlequin. I read 12 books, across 5 imprints.
I was shocked that MiraInk came only to an average of 3.67 as I love MiraInk books, but then I realised that HarlequinTeen and MiraInk publish the same books, either in the US or UK. I got the books from both sources and I should average these imprints together. I won’t give up on this Harlequin as they publish one of my favourite authors, Rachel Vincent.
Penguin is the publisher I read the most in 2012. In total 57 books, across astonishing 13 imprints.
I read only from 3 imprints enough books for representative results. Nevertheless I included imprints with more than 1 book to give a better overview. Most of the imprints are working very well for me. Only NAL is ranking below average and three of the 5 books are from the same series (A Vampire Princess of St. Paul by Tate Hallaway), so that is not saying very much either. As usual more data is needed. You can see that I read a lot of Berkley’s romance books and I liked them too.
I wasn’t sure if I should include Sourcebooks in this analysis as I read only 6 books from this publisher, across 2 imprints. Additionally these 6 books are written by only 3 authors.
The two Sourcebooks Fire books are by Miranda Kenneally, which I quite enjoy reading.The Casablanca books are by two very different authors, Grace Burrowes and Olivia Cunning. The first I love reading and the later I should maybe avoid, as her books rank extremely low. That also explains the very low overall average of Sourcebooks Casablanca.
Another one of the big 6 publishers, HarperCollins came in second after Penguin when it comes to the amount of books I read. In total 47 books from 9 imprints.
In general HarperCollins ranks second in my list with high marks all over the imprints. I especially love their romance imprint Avon, which publishes some of my favourite authors such as: Julia Quinn, Jeaniene Frost, Eloisa James and Lisa Kleypas. These are author I re-read all the time as well. What surprised me was the relatively low ranking of the Young Adult imprint Balzer+Bray. With 6 books the sample size isn’t huge but at least significant enough as all books are from different authors. I’m still a bit puzzled over this result. I honestly thought that Balzer+Bray books work great for me and though none of the books ranked below 3, the imprint altogether is not rocking my world. In contrast to HarperTeen, another Young Adult imprint, which ranks super-high. I haven’t read a HarperTeen books I didn’t like. Hopefully I never will.
Compiling all this data was so much fun (I know,I’m a geek!) and gave me new deeper insight into my reading life. I didn’t include all the publishing houses I read only a few books of. And I didn’t analyse Scholastic, as 3 of the 4 books are the Hunger Games series (one of my personal favourites).
I’m not sure if I will change anything about how I choose books in the near future. Most of the data samples are too small for any significant conclusions and I don’t want to condemn any imprints so fast. I might be a bit more choosy when it comes to self-published books. Like reading more reviews before actually picking one up (though this wouldn’t have helped me with Taking Chances by Molly McAdams, which everybody adores and is my most-hated book of 2012).
Anyway, I will keep up with analysing my reading data and we’ll see how this develops.
Do you have any publishers/imprints you absolutely adore/hate? And why so?