Additional figure: Number of books read per category

Zooming in on Figure 2.3 on p. 44 of The Riddle of Literary Quality.

In this graph, we try to find out how participants in The National Reader Survey divided their attention across the four different text categories (genres) in the corpus. The composition of the corpus is as follows:

Participants indicated which of the total 401 books they had read. In the inner circle of the graph, respondents are divided according to their primary preference: they are assigned to the category whose titles they indicated they had read the most. So all readers who read mostly Suspense, together ticked 88,126 times as having read a book from that category, and all readers who more often read a Literary novel, together arrive at 151,244 novels read from that category. Here we should keep in mind the number of books from that category: there are more books from the Suspense category in the corpus than from that of the Literary novel. The outer ring then shows for each main category the number of books the respective participants read in the other categories. That the Romance and Other groups are not as visible reflects their low numbers in the corpus.

The graph nicely presents information about readers who mainly read books from the categories of Suspense and Literary novel. We see that all readers who indicated to read Literary novels read by far the most novels. About one in four times they make a foray into the category of Suspense and to a much lesser extent they read books from Romance or from the Other category.

Readers who primarily choose Suspense more often make a foray into a Literary novel. Almost one in three books they read is not Suspense but a Literary novel.

Readers who primarily choose Romance or a book from the Other category together read a marginal number of books compared to the other readers. The fact that readers who primarily read Romance are not well represented in the survey undoubtedly plays a role here.

Below, we present this graph in a different way, to better show how the distribution across categories is for these readers. Thus, we can read the upper right quadrant, with the Literary novel, as follows: for readers who primarily read books from the category of the Literary novel, in addition to the 100 literary novels they read, they also read 29 Suspense novels, 8 from Other and 2 from Romance.