Oh boy, I think the End of the Year Survey is both my favorite and least favorite time of the year. I love looking back and organizing my data, but it’s SO HARD to choose favorites! I’m a wordy person when it comes to gushing, so I’ve split the survey up over the week so I don’t bore you with my answers. Luckily, the first part of the survey is all about stats, so it’s far less subjective than the rest.
I keep my own book log and have my own questions I want answered, so I won’t be following Jamie’s lead on this one. There’s an unspecified margin for error in these graphs because there’s always a chance that I’ve forgotten to add a book, and also some things like genres and ratings can be tricky to nail down.
Note: Unless otherwise specified, manuscripts are not included in these stats. Novellas, audiobooks, and DNFs are included.
All in all, I had contact with 168 books this year, from January 1st through December 15th.
Of those, 18 were DNFs, dropping my completed reads to 150 books, including manuscripts and audiobooks, which CREAMS my goal of 100 books read and is an increase of 5 from 145 last year.
Of those 150 books, 60 were standalones, 27 were rereads, and 28 were debuts (not counting 2 from previously published authors who were “debuting” in YA for the first time.)
Not including DNFs, manuscripts, or audiobooks, I read 44,761 pages this year. (Oof da.)
Once again, to the surprise of absolutely no one, Young Adult creamed every other age category at 133 books (over 78%). Middle Grade came in second at 23 books (over 13%). Though still imbalanced, I’m pleased, because I said last year that I wanted to increase my MG reading (11%, 15 books in 2013), and I have! I also increased my New Adult count by one, but that one was a DNF, so I’m counting that goal as uncompleted. I also read far fewer adult books than last year, which is a pity. But hooray for the lone picture book! Lastly, I listed my manuscripts read here instead of under “Format,” because what I read is given to me rather than chosen.
Goals for next year: I would like to keep my YA and MG count high but introduce a few more adult books and New Adult books into my stack. As always, the difficult with NA will be finding something outside of the contemporary/sexytimes stuff that dominates the category. Also, more picture books for everybody!
Oh ARCs, you’re so bossy. A little over half of my reading this year was in the form of Advanced Reading Copies. I do love reading things early, but I had to learn this year how not to be pushed around by my To-Read shelf. That said, the number of physical books read has shot up (34 hardcovers and 20 paperbacks), some from my own shelves and some from the library. I didn’t include my number of manuscripts read like I did last year, since they’re mentioned above in the age category chart. And hip hip hooray for audiobooks eating up a solid chunk of my “reading” count!
Goals for next year: I’d like to at least hold steady on the percentage of finished copies I read in a year. ARCs are a blessing and a curse, but I don’t want them to bully my shelves. I’d also like to increase my audiobook intake, if I can. Audiobooks are a great way to reread or make time with older releases without stealing from my ever-growing TBR.
The way I did my percentages this year differ from last year in that I didn’t have to specify whether an ARC came from BEA or not. That said, my intake from NetGalley and Edelweiss skyrocketed this year to 37% of my reading, which is just crazy (and yet I’m surprised it’s not more.) I think there are three factors that contributed to this increase: I’m more comfortable using both sites now, I didn’t have access to physical ARCs through BEA, and I’m established enough that I’m more likely to receive approval from publishers. I also received more physical ARCs directly from publishers, as well as a few copies from the authors themselves or their agents. Sadly, all of this means that the percentage of books from my shelf being read dropped (from 29% last year to 25%). But thanks to my growing love of audiobooks, the percentage of books borrowed from the library increased 2%!
Goals for next year: I really, really want to tackle more books from my own shelves, be they new reads or rereads. That increase will likely take away from ARCs read (both physical and digital), but that’s okay.
Waaah, this is always the hardest portion to quantify, since YA (my largest age category) is so good at genre bending. I had a ridiculously hard time separating paranormal from magical realism, for instance, or deciding which label a paranormal steampunk historical book would be primarily categorized under. So insert a disclaimer here about human error, blah blah blah. Fantasy* came in first with a solid quarter of my reading, which pleases me to no end. Contemporary came in second, just like last year, and remains just as confusing. (I do NOT get along with this genre, so why do I read so much of it?) Happily, Historical was nipping at Contemporary’s heels with 22 books to Contemporary’s 27, and that was a genre I’d wanted to increase last year. The rest of the genres are kind of higgledy-piggledy.
*Sidenote: I listed 41 fantasies for my final reading count, but that number isn’t entirely accurate. One book was marketed as a fantasy but turned out to be sci-fi through some clever world-building. I left the book in my fantasy count but wanted to note the technicality.
Goals for next year: I’m pleased with my fantasy count but would like to keep my goal of raising my sci-fi and historical percentages. I would also like to read more apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novels, because I’ve discovered that I really enjoy the genres as a welcome alternative to dystopian (all the danger and suspense with far less Big Bad Government interference.) Lastly, I would like to read more fun non-fictions and will probably use this goal to also meet my “read more adult books” goal.
Like last year, my biggest group overall are my unrated books. This year, I looked into why I let books go unrated, and I’m a little flabbergasted by the number of books I read and just didn’t bother to rate and review. On the one hand, it’s good that I allow myself free reading time (always being “on” while reading is tiring) and audiobooks and the like are incredibly hard to review since I can’t take notes. However, as a blogger, using so much time on non-review books is not optimal. Other books I couldn’t rate because I DNF’d them or because they were rereads or simply because I’m unable to pick a rating yet.
Among books that are actually rated, three stars is once again my largest category. I’m okay with that. Bell curves are pretty, and this particular bell curve is still weighted on the positive side (31 four- or five-star books compared to 16 one- or two-star books). It should be noted, however, that my DNFs did rise from 5 books last year to 18 books this year; had I continued with those 18 books, my one- to two-star review count surely would have risen.
Goals for next year: I’m not bothered by my increase in DNFs, as it’s a necessary side effect of trying to diversify my reading (as seen in my growing number of read genres.) However, I need to keep an eye on the number of books I read but don’t bother to review at all. I would also like to continue to shift my bell curve until it’s heavily front-loaded. Four- and five-star reviews for me!
Look at me go! I still stick to a lot of the bigger publishing houses, but I’ve tried to branch out when I see a book that interests me. I can’t say how many publishers are completely new to me, as my understanding of which imprints go under which house was weaker last year and therefore introduced errors to my statistics. Unlike last year, I’ve read zero self-published books this year, which I think is merely a side effect of being too impatient with my DNFs. Why waste my time starting if I’m likely not to finish? It should also be noted that I kept Penguin and Random House separate since that’s how they were most of the year.
HarperCollins is the champion again this year with 21% of my reading. Their percentage has dropped out of necessity as I’ve formed closer ties with more publishers, but the combination of my whitelist status on Edelweiss, the Greenwillow and Katherine Tegan imprints (two of my faves), and those dang pretty covers has kept ol’ Harper out front.
Macmillan has jumped from tied for third to second place this year with 18% of my stack, which is due in large part to Ksenia and her wonderful emails. 🙂
Shockingly, Hachette came in third, which I can only attribute to my discovery of the How To Train Your Dragon audiobook series this year, as I’ve only reviewed one of the 14 books I’ve read (Waistcoats & Weaponry, if you’re curious.)
I’m a very grumpy and confused blogger over the fact that Bloomsbury‘s count has dropped so sharply, because they are my people and I love them. However, a big chunk of my reading last year came from rereading A.C. Gaughen’s and Sarah J. Maas’s stories last year, and I do have a very Bloomsbury-tastic spring planned for 2015. I’m also sad that Disney dropped even a little bit, because even thinking about their books makes my insides happy. I will say, though, that I’m overjoyed that I was about to goose my Houghton Mifflin Harcourt count from 3 books in 2013 to 13 books this year!
Goals for next year: MOAR BLOOMSBURY! MOAR HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT! MOAR DISNEY HYPERION! I’d also like to make friends within Penguin Random House, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster, because they make cool things. And of the smaller publishing companies, I’d like to seek out more from Abrams and Chronicle, because each published one of my favorite books of the year (High & Dry and The Falconer, respectively.)
So that’s my year! How was yours?
Come back tomorrow to see me get into the nitty-gritty of the End of the Year Survey with my pick for Best in Books!