The Same Books Are Read Over and Over Again

Cooking, dining, and book review magazine The New York Times has kindly allowed us to play around with their best sellers list.  What a gracious old gray lady?  Today we cover paperback fiction (mass market and trade) to see what it is that America is reading.  The lists remain almost unchanged from last week.

Fiction (Trade)

Vintage leads the number of titles in the trade fiction category with four.  Berkley and Harper Perennial follow with two.  All other publishers on the list only managed to get one book on the top twenty.  E. L. James has three books on the list.  Stephen King and Sylvia Day each have two.  All other authors have one book on the list.

The titles of the books on the list had the following characteristics:

  • Total number of letters in titles: 272
  • Total number of numbers in titles: 0
  • Correlation between length of title and rank on list: 0.15 (weak correlation)
  • Longest title length: 21 letters, 2 books
  • Shortest title length: 3 letters, 1 book
  • Ratio of consonants to vowels (excluding the letter "Y"): 1.61:1
  • Number of times the letter "Y" appears: 8
  • Correlation between consonant to vowel ratio and rank on list: -0.12 (weak correlation)
  • Mean number of words in titles: 2.95
  • Maximum number of words in titles: 5
  • Minimum number of words in titles: 1
  • Correlation between number of words and rank on the list: 0.25 (weak correlation)
  • Most frequently used letter: E; 37 times
  • Least frequently used letters: Q, X; 0 times
  • Number of authors whose first name starts with a vowel (excluding the letter "Y"): 4 (3 are the same person)
  • Number of authors whose last name ends in a vowel (excluding the letter "Y"): 4
  • Number of books with multiple authors: 1
  • Number of authors with middle name: 6 (3 are the same person)
  • Number of authors with two middle names: 1
  • Selfishness Index - Number of titles with the words me, my, mine, or I in them: 0
  • Correlation between selfish titles and rank on the list: 0 (no correlation)
  • Number of books with an article in the title: 8
  • Number of cheaters (bulk buyers): 0
  • New entries: 1
  • Longest time on chart: 257 weeks
  • Negative Index - Number of books with the words murder, kill, assassin, die, dark secret, destroy, riot, sinister, prison, crime, permission, restriction, obesity, steal, covert, torture, war, fail, conspiracy, suffer, sad, or loser in The New York Times description: 6
  • Positive Index - Number of books with the words family, love, health, sharp mind, dream, flower, welcome, romance, vacation, hero, success, humor, survive, allegory, treasure, perfect, happy, or winner in The New York Times description: 4
  • Number of books with both positive and negative words: 1
  • Most frequently used words in titles: the - 7; you, of, fifty, and shades - 3; a - 2
  • Number of titles employing alliteration: 1
  • Number of titles with masculine words: 0
  • Number of titles with feminine words: 0
  • Number of New York Times descriptions with masculine words: 7
  • Number of New York Times descriptions with feminine words: 6

Fiction (Mass Market)

Bantam leads the number of titles in the mass market fiction category with four.  Dell has three.  Berkley and Vision each have two.  All other publishers on the list only managed to get one book on the top twenty.  George R. R. Martin has four books on the list, and all other authors have one book on the list.

The titles of the books on the list had the following characteristics:

  • Total number of letters in titles: 227
  • Total number of numbers in titles: 0
  • Correlation between length of title and rank on list: 0.01 (weak correlation)
  • Longest title length: 15 letters, 1 book
  • Shortest title length: 8 letters, 1 book
  • Ratio of consonants to vowels (excluding the letter "Y"): 1.86:1
  • Number of times the letter "Y" appears: 4
  • Correlation between consonant to vowel ratio and rank on list: -0.17 (weak correlation)
  • Mean number of words in titles: 2.7
  • Maximum number of words in titles: 4
  • Minimum number of words in titles: 2
  • Correlation between number of words and rank on the list: -0.51 (moderate correlation)
  • Most frequently used letter: E; 27 times
  • Least frequently used letters: Q, X; 0 times
  • Number of authors whose first name starts with a vowel (excluding the letter "Y"): 1
  • Number of authors whose last name ends in a vowel (excluding the letter "Y"): 1
  • Number of books with multiple authors: 3
  • Number of authors with middle name: 6 (4 are the same person)
  • Number of authors with two middle names: 4 (same person)
  • Selfishness Index - Number of titles with the words me, my, mine, or I in them: 1
  • Correlation between selfish titles and rank on the list: 0.18 (weak correlation)
  • Number of books with an article in the title: 7
  • Number of cheaters (bulk buyers): 0
  • New entries: 0
  • Longest time on chart: 110 weeks
  • Negative Index - Number of books with the words murder, kill, assassin, die, dark secret, destroy, riot, sinister, prison, crime, permission, restriction, obesity, steal, covert, torture, war, fail, conspiracy, suffer, sad, or loser in The New York Times description: 9
  • Positive Index - Number of books with the words family, love, health, sharp mind, dream, flower, welcome, romance, vacation, hero, success, humor, survive, allegory, treasure, perfect, happy, or winner in The New York Times description: 7
  • Number of books with both positive and negative words: 4
  • Most frequently used words in titles: a - 5; of - 4; the, summer, game, one, and storm - 2
  • Number of titles employing alliteration: 2
  • Number of titles with masculine words: 0
  • Number of titles with feminine words: 0
  • Number of New York Times descriptions with masculine words: 7
  • Number of New York Times descriptions with feminine words: 6


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