Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Lots of Books, Lots of Numbers

I love LibraryThing - no big surprise there, I'm sure, for most of you, and I'm willing to bet that many of you feel the same way.  (Those of you who are unfamiliar with the site might want to go here. I've been a member there since July 2006 and I can't recommend it enough.)  What makes the site so much fun for me is the way that it blends two of my passions: books and statistics.  My love of books is probably obvious by now.  What might be less obvious, is how much pleasure I take in studying statistics, rankings, lists, and the like.

LibraryThing makes that easy to do.  For instance this is what I learned today in about five minutes of looking at the numbers there:
There are 1,315,207 members, as of this moment. 
Between them, the members have catalogued some 61,322,658 books. That's an average of just under 47 books per user. 
Of those 61 million books, 6,004,201 of them are unique titles. 
Those same members have written a total of 476,510 book reviews and posted them to the site.
Those are the raw numbers. What really intrigues me, is the detail behind some of those numbers.
The Top 10 Most Collected Authors are: 
J.K. Rowling - 397,655 books
Stephen King - 281,299 books
Terry Pratchett - 234,221 books
J.R.R. Tolkien - 189,282 books
Neil Gaiman - 178,120 books
C.S. Lewis - 174,157 books
William Shakespeare - 150,435 books
Nora Roberts - 135,337 books
Jane Austen - 128,463 books
Agatha Christie - 126,783 books
While I'm not surprised by most of the names on the list, I do find it a bit strange to see Nora Roberts bracketed by the likes of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. It is, indeed, a strange old world in which we live.

One other tidbit worth sharing today: of the Top 10 books most collected, numbers 1-7 are the Harry Potter novels, followed by The Da Vinci Code, The Hobbit, and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Yes, we as a group, have one heck of a split personality - if not much taste.


  1. Library Thing is the absolute best! I've been using it since I started reviewing. I love looking at the statistics as well. It's interesting to look at the collections of the people who have some of the same books as I do. I also like the recommendations, not that I need any help finding books to read! :)

  2. Library Thing is the best bargain on the web. Bar none. Got a lifetime membership years ago. It is also the best biblio-website.