Thursday, March 31, 2011

The GoodReads Project: Book Statistics Are Fun!

(Since today is Major League Baseball Opening Day, one of the best days of the year, this post is a tenuous attempt to connect baseball and books. Statistics! I love 'em!)

I originally signed up for GoodReads in early 2007. Back then, there were only a couple hundred people on the site, and it was cumbersome and error-prone. I added a few books, checked back a few times, but then promptly forgot about it.

In the last year or so, though, it seems as if GoodReads has grown in popularity at a rate approximately equal to that of quoting Charlie Sheen. Most of my favorite book bloggers are there, so  I decided to give it another try and revamp my account. This involved going through the exercise of adding all the books I've read since June, 2001 — when I started my reading log-journal thing. I used said reading log-journal thing to add the exact date I'd finished each book. And when I was done, I had a fascinating overview of my reading habits for the last 10 years.

Take a look at the books per year stats:

One conclusion that can definitely be drawn is that blogging has sped up my reading pace. I read 44 books last year in my first full year of running The New Dork Review of Books. That total was 14 more than the highest number of any previous pre-blog year. Before 2010, though, I was pretty consistent year-to-year in the number of novels I read — averaging 25.9 books per year between 2002 and 2009. That's almost a book every other week. Not as prolific as some, sure — but not terrible.

The pages statistics are interesting, too:


In 2010, when I read the most novels, I averaged 418.9 pages per book. In 2002, I only read 17 books, but they averaged a whopping 550.4 pages! That year, I read a lot of bulky historical fiction, including Caribbean by James Michener (832 pgs.) and Herman Wouk's The Winds of War (896 pgs.) and War and Remembrance (1,056 pgs), and The Count of Monte Cristo (1,168 pgs!), by Alexandre Dumas. My lowest page-per-book year was 2007, at 383.3. Over all nine years, my average is 435.3 pages per novel. Glad the stats bear out my assertion that I prefer longer books

Anyone else do a similar study of their reading habits and/or statistics? I'd love to hear about it!

(Also, add me on GoodReads, if you're there. It's a lot of fun comparing books and ratings.)


  1. I love seeing other people's reading stats. I was thinking of getting on GoodReads and actually signed up and then immediately closed the webpage after adding a single book. So many people seem to be on there so I may need to give in and just start using it. These stats you pulled add some extra incentive...

  2. I'm with Red. I signed up way back in the day and promptly came to the realization that I would never follow through on keeping the stats. Well done to you for staying organized. It does seem to yield some interesting information.

  3. Fascinating stats. I don't think my average pagelength per book (the ol' APPB) will be anywhere near yours. I love short books!

    I'm getting myself sorted on GoodReads, thanks to you. Rating books is HARD.

  4. I created a GoodReads account earlier this year and added one book before I got bored. But I find these statistics are really interesting. I think I'll check out GoodReads again and familiarize myself a little more. It seems like a site that shouldn't be missed! Thanks, Greg.

  5. On my book blog, I have put my a list of how many books I've read between 2001 and now. In 2001 I read only 8 books, and in 2010 I read 20. The most I've read is 27 in 2009. But it's very interesting to look at the books I've read over the last decade and you'll find that I've read more and more; especially after I joined Bookcrossing.

  6. Love GoodReads, visit it every day. Frankly I'm addicted to their bookswap feature, which allows me to pretend to be getting rid of books I no longer need, but really brings in two for every one I send away. I'll add you to my friends-I suspect that we don't overlap a ton in what we've read, but I always find your reviews helpful, and I'm trying to expand the types of books I'm reading.

  7. I had no idea that Goodreads could do stats like this. I've been a member for a while but need to update my info. Thanks for cluing me in!

  8. I love Goodreads and have used it daily since I discovered it in mid 2008. I only have partial reading lists for 2007/2008/2009 but last year was my best reading year yet (317 books /97450 pages).
    I am at 69 books/17950 pages so far this year and Goodreads just ensures I keep adding to my TBR lists :)

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  9. @Red - The only reason I re-joined is for the stats and the "compare books" feature - it's fun to see how the books you hated that your friends loved, and vice versa. ;)

    @Patrick - Once you get through updating, it's not really a huge time investment. It's also a good place to drum up some readers for the blog!

    @Ben - Nice to have you as a new GoodReads friend!

    @Brenna - Yeah, it's kinda fun. I wonder, now that you're the fourth person (including me) to say they signed up and then promptly quit, how many actual "active" users GoodReads has. Hmm....

  10. @Mozette - Yeah, it was fun going through and adding all the books over the last 10 years. It brought back some other memories about what I was doing or place I'd traveled to while reading those books. So, it didn't feel like work at all!

    @Heather - Thanks for the kind words, and for the add. You never know where there'll be overlap - I'm an eccentric reader. ;)

    @Pete - No problem. The stats were the impetus to revamp my account, too!

    @bookdout - That's an amazing pace! You are quite prolific. How do you have the time?!

  11. " @bookdout - That's an amazing pace! You are quite prolific. How do you have the time?! "

    Greg, I read fast and I don't sleep much ;)