deborah.dwj at suberic.net deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Wed May 23 09:36:31 EDT 2007

On Wed, 23 May 2007, Sally Odgers wrote:

>> >
>> ObDWJ: Er. DWJ takes up rather a lot of shelf space?
> Lots of column centimetres in my on-line library catalogue, too.  As do 
> Trease, Anthony, Heinlein and Heyer... Who in the world has the greatest 
> number of books by one author, I wonder? It WOULD have been Isaac A, I would 
> think. I wonder if his widow inherited his collection?

LibraryThing has a feature that is almost right but which rather
annoys me. On its "zeitgeist" page of random statistics
(<http://www.librarything.com/zeitgeist>), they have a list they
call "50 most completist authors", which is defined as "Average
number of different books held by people who have any books by
the author". (Look at the bottom of the middle column on that
page.) At the moment, the number one author is Kenneth Robeson
with people who who hold Kenneth Robeson books having an average
of 22.85 Kenneth Robeson books. The problem with this? Kenneth
Robeson has hundreds of works listed in LibraryThing. The last
person on the list is Carolyn Keene; people would Carolyn Keene
books have an average of 7.29 Carolyn Keene books. This tells you
something more about how prolific the author is that it does
about how completist the author's fans are.

The statistic I'd be more interested in is, given authors who
have at least some number of books (three? I'm picking a random
number), what percentage of their books are held by fans to have
any number of their books. For example, for people who have any
Diana Wynne Jones books, what's the average percentage of all
Diana Wynne Jones works that are held? Obviously these numbers
won't be perfect either; science fiction and fantasy books, for
example, are often publishing compilations as well as
individually, and while I own all of the works which comprise The
Chronicles of Chrestomanci, I don't own either of the Chronicles
of Chrestomanci collections. But still, it would be more
interesting statistic to me than the fact that the average person
who has any books by Nora Roberts has 10.05 books by Nora
Roberts. I know enough about Nora Roberts to know that it's more
significant that the average person who owns any books by Tamora
Pierce owns 8.61 books by Tamora Pierce, simply because I know
that Nora Roberts has written volumes and volumes more than
Tamora Pierce has. But you can't tell that from the statistics.

(I have 39 catalogued Diana Wynne Jones books in LibraryThing.)

What does it matter whether we hang,
If we've learned a little wisdom?	-- _Jade_, Sally Watson

More information about the Dwj mailing list