Now that December is over, it’s time to take a look at my 2018 reading stats. (For last year’s reading stats, check out this post.)
I read a total of 56 books in 2018. Or 59 books if you include the two books I wrote (and had to read over and over again during editing), plus the early draft of a book I read as a critique for an author friend. For the purposes of this post we’re going to stick with 56 books read. Whatever the “official count” is, it was more than the 50 book goal that I set for myself. Go me! 🙂
Here’s how my 2018 reading stats break down:
- New vs. backlist: 39% of the books I read (22 total) were books published in 2018 vs. 61% (34 books) published prior to 2018.
- Fiction vs. non-fiction: This was another big year for fiction (no surprise) with 93% (52 books) fiction books read and only 7% (4 books) non-fiction.
- Author genders: This one is a bit complicated because some books I read had multiple authors, but 93% of the books I read had at least one female-identifying author. I only read 4 books where the only author was a male-identifying author. I feel like usually this is a more balanced split, but this year I just didn’t find very many books written by men that I wanted to read. Go figure.
- Book format: This was a much bigger than usual year for audio because I had an eye issue earlier in the year that made it frustrating to try to read. So, I listened to 20% of the books I read this year (11 total). Ebooks made up 73% of my reading (41 books), and print was only 7% (4 books).
- Age category: The really interesting thing here is that this year’s split is identical to last year’s split. Weird, right? 57% of the books I read this year (32 total) were “adult” vs. 39% “young adult” (22 books) and 4% (2 books) “middle grade.”
- Genre: The majority of what I read was fantasy (41%) and sci-fi (20%). The total of these two genres is actually up a bit from last year, but there are still a good number of “realistic” books in there (18% of the total, and this includes historical and contemporary as well as those four non-fiction books I read) as well as some straight up romance books (14% of the total), and mysteries (7%). With so many genres represented, this is probably a good time to throw in a pie chart. So, here you go:
- AOC: 43% of the books I read (24 books total) were written by an “author of color” (aka one that does not identify as “white”). I am very proud of this stat. That’s the closest to 50% that I’ve been since I started keeping track of this stuff, and I didn’t even do it on purpose this year. It just happened. I love that!
- LGBTQA: This stat, on the other hand, was less great. I’m not doing a fantastic job of including queer representation in my reading. Please note, I’m not always sure how an author identifies, and I don’t think that I need to be. That said, I think only 13% of the books I read (7 total) were written by an author who I knew identified as something other than “straight.” This is another reason why I’m excited about the 2019 Read Harder Challenge. Several of the tasks are LQBTQA related, and I’m hoping that helps me “Read Harder” in this personal blind-spot.
Ebook buying in 2018:
Of the 56 books I read in 2018, 57% (32 total) were borrowed from the library. That might seem like a good thing, and it would be a good thing, if I’d actually managed to not purchase any books in 2018, or if I’d at least purchased fewer books than what I’d read off my backlog of purchased books.
But, alas, ebook sales are kryptonite for me, and there were a lot of 2018 new releases by authors I love. The end result was that I bought 37 books on Kindle in 2018. That’s down from pervious years (see chart below). And, I also managed to keep my cost per book down, despite those new release pre-orders.
I don’t mind spending money on books. It’s pretty much the only money I spend on entertainment. The problem is, I feel like if I’m buying them, I should read them.
In 2018, I only read 20 of the books that I’d purchased for Kindle. 10 were books I’d purchased in previous years. The other 10 were ones I’d purchased in 2018. But, remember, I purchased 37 books in 2018. So, that means I didn’t read everything I bought, and the additional purchases negated the small dent I’d managed to make in the backlog of books bought in previous years.
Keep in mind, we’re just talking about ebooks here. I also have unread print books that were given to me as gifts or ones that I’d purchased as part of a subscription box. Since I’m less inclined to run out and buy a print book that I’m not going to read right away (see comment about ebook sales, above), I don’t really track unread print books. I use my bookshelf as a visual reminder of those. The Kindle books, on the other hand, just seem to disappear onto my Kindle until I remember I bought them, or check my list.
This is why one of my reading goals for 2019 is to read more books than I buy. I’m starting 2019 with at least 124 unread books on my Kindle. I say “at least” because there are books on there that I received for free and ones that I might have missed from before I started keeping track and ones that I bought for my husband back when we were sharing a Kindle account. It’s complicated. For example, my “tbr-Kindle” shelf on Goodreads says that I have 148 books unread. That’s probably more like the actual number. But, for the purposes of this exercise, I’m going to go with 124 books because that’s what’s on the list in my book buying spreadsheet.
As I mentioned in my 2019 reading goals post, the rule this year is that for every book that I buy, at least one book has to be read so that I end the year with no more than 124 books on that list. Now, ideally I’d read at least two books for every one book that I buy (one being the book I bought, plus another book from the backlog). But, this year I’ll be satisfied as long as that number stays flat. To keep myself honest, in my monthly reading recap posts this year, I’m planning to do an accounting of books added (inbox) vs. books finished (outbox). We’ll see how it goes.
If you stuck with this post all the way to the end then you must be a kindred spirit who loves to geek out on data! Or you’re my mom. Either way, hi, friend! Thanks for reading and appreciating the annual combination of my love of reading with my love of spreadsheets and data.
If somehow you got this far and are not already tracking your own reading but think you might want to start, I highly recommend using a spreadsheet like the one provided in this post on Book Riot. It’s pretty thorough, and they set up all the formulas and charts for you. So, if you don’t love spreadsheets and formulas as much as I do, you don’t have to worry about that part.
Okay, data geek-out is over. Time to get back to working on writing and editing my books! Happy reading!