Playing With Numbers

January 26th, 2006 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Here is what we want to know: why doesn’t anyone ever offer us money to do stuff like, oh, figure out the most popular settings for novels? Other than the fact that we’d probably take the money, do a little abracadabra, and poof! declare New York and London the winners…without actually putting out any effort. It takes very little reading experience to guess the answer to the question.

Yes, the fine folks at Bowker have crunched lots of numbers, tested prices and formats, and tramped the misty heath of Scotland. Or something like that. The numbers aren’t surprising, unless the steady uptick in retail prices is a shocker.

Bowker also studied the length of fiction titles and the suggested retail prices for new releases. The average science-fiction novel was 329 pages long, followed by romance at 324, mystery & detective at 292, and westerns a relatively skinny 261 pages. The average suggested retail price for mass market science-fiction novels in 2004 were $7.35, close to the average for all mass market fiction; mystery & detective novels averaged $6.94; and romances continue to be a bargain at $5.57.

File Under: The Business of Publishing