January 14, 2020

‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ Was Top Seller in 2019

Publishers Weekly

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens was the bestselling print book in 2019 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Owens’s debut was one of the biggest-selling novels in recent years and easily topped one million copies sold in the year, a rare occurrence for the print edition of an adult fiction book. In 2018, The President Is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton was the top-selling novel, selling more than 703,000 copies. Michelle Obama’s Becoming, the bestselling print book in 2018, finished in second place on the 2019 bestseller list, selling 1.1 million copies. The third book that topped the million-mark level last year was Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls by Dav Pilkey.

Pilkey had three books among the top 20 print bestsellers in 2019 and led a great year for Scholastic’s trade group. In addition to Pilkey’s three books, which are published by Scholastic’s graphic novel imprint Graphix, Guts by Raina Telgemeier, also published by Graphix, sold nearly 444,000 print copies last year, landing it in 17th place on the 2019 bestseller list, while The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith, released by Scholastic Paperbacks, sold 498,326 copies in 2019, putting it at #14.

Looking deeper into the Goodreads troll problem

Camestros Felapton

The repeated spamming of Patrick S Tomlinson’s unpublished book with fake reviews continues on Goodreads. Looking at the long list of reviews (currently 124 ratings) it is clear that some have been removed, presumably after being flagged by multiple people. However, with the trolls targetting the book easily generating new accounts the net number of fake reviews continues to grow.

This kind of coordinated pre-emptive spamming of negative reviews isn’t new. The film-rating site Rotten Tomatoes had to take steps last year to curtail a right-wing attack on the as-the-time unreleased Captain Marvel. [see https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/5/23/18637464/rotten-tomatoes-audience-verified-score-trolls-brigading-review-bombing]

Preventing reviews of unreleased properties seems like a minimum first step in limiting the capacity of coordinated campaigns to hijack a review site. While it won’t prevent other coordinated attacks on released books, unreleased (but listed) works are more vulnerable as they have no natural reviews being written.

OverDrive Reports Record Digital Borrowing in 2019

Publishers Weekly

Public libraries around the world generated a record level of digital content circulation in 2019, providing patrons access to more than 326 million e-books, audiobooks and digital magazines, a 20% increase over the previous year, according to a report by Rakuten OverDrive, a digital distribution vendor for libraries. Late last year, Rakuten agreed to sell OverDrive to the private equity firm KKR.

According to the report, 73 public library systems in five countries each loaned over 1 million digital books over the past year, including eight systems that hit the million loans mark for the first time. Among the top digital library lending systems are the Toronto Public Library (6.6 million digital loans), Los Angeles Public Library (the top U.S. library with 5.9 million digital loans); and the National Library Board of Singapore (the top lender outside of North America with 4.2 million loans).