Thursday, January 07, 2016

2015 in numbers...

Well... I don't know why I thought writing this number post was going to be such a big endeavor, but obviously, it wasn't ^_^; Yep, my spreadsheet was blank, but it didn't take that long to complete it... Guess there's a positive to reading less in 2015 LOL. Of course, taking out a whole section of the breakdown - the one that requires the most numbers crunching - didn't hurt either :P

Big thanks to Li and Wendy for inspiring me with their own number posts :)

Number of books read


My reading goal for 2015 was 180 books, 1 more than what I read in 2014 (179). I thought I had the whole juggling between curling and reading down to pat and therefore, 180 was achievable... but 2015 turned out to be a lot busier than 2014 since I traveled a bit and played hostess/tour guide for guests :) Also, I had no way to predict I'd renew my passion for Chinese tv series with Nirvana In Fire!

Another big hurdle in 2015 was the eternal "what to read next" question which led to many mini-reading slumps :( Aside from the auto-buys, I just didn't know what to pick up! In many instances, I turned to "safer" bets - authors I knew, story tropes I liked; nothing too out of my comfort zone... Except I think I'm tired of my comfort zone ^_^; And so, many of those "safer" bets didn't really engage me :( Hopefully, with me getting back in touch with blogland, this hurdle won't be an issue anymore (or at least, not be as big) in 2016. Gotta say, I'm optimist though! I've already got quite the list of recommendations based on everyone's 2015 recaps and 2016 anticipated lists :)

Since 2016 is going to be as busy - if not more ^_^; - than 2015, I'm aiming for 160 books. I have a good start so far, so hoping it'll continue! :)

Number of books bought

This section of the post has always been the hardest for me to keep track... perhaps because deep down, I don't really want to know LOL. This year was even harder - what with the blank spreadsheet, RWA and RARE. I did manage to scrounge up some numbers though, so let's take a look :)

  • Bought print online: 25
  • Bought print in-store: 26*
  • Bought e-books: 10
  • RWA print books: 127
  • RWA e-books:  35
  • RARE print books: 13

For a grand total of...

191 print books* + 45 e-books

Okie dokie. That is a lot of books ^_^; Especially, considering that the number of print books should be higher as I'm pretty sure I bought more in-store than what's indicated (hence the asterisk). Not much more though - perhaps 10?

Overall, I'm actually quite happy with myself.. even a bit proud! If we don't look at the books I got at RWA and RARE, I purchased only 61-71 books. Okay, so I held off buying books because I knew I would get many of them  at RWA... but still! I took a look at my numbers in 2011, the other time I attended RWA, and that year, without counting my RWA haul, I bought 157 books! So I did exert some self-control this year! :) More evidence of that self-control: most of my book purchases in-store were done after RWA!

Out of those 61 books that I bought, I have read 43 which means 70.5% . That's an increase over last year, but still a bit low in comparison to 2012 and 2013. Of course, this percentage takes a drastic plunge if we consider my RWA haul ^_^; In my RWA post, I said I had read 15 books prior to RWA... and since then, have only add 9 reads from the haul. Oups. So if you take in account books from RWA and RARE, I have perhaps read approximately 76 books total from all those new books - 32.2%. Not too bad, but I think I can do better ^_^; At least, I know where to turn to for the TBR 2016 challenge that Wendy is hosting and I'm participating in lurker-mode :P Now that I think about it... one of my goals this year should be to keep reading from the RWA haul, hmmmm.

Since I didn't do a great job at keeping track of my book purchases in 2015, I really have no idea of how much money I saved. I always try to avoid paying full price for a book and would say I succeeded 90% of the time. I did try to limit my spending at RARE... and in any case, I'd say that my haul at RWA - even factoring the registration fee - more than made up for it. So all I can is in 2015, I saved a lot LOL.

For 2016, I predict some changes in my book buying habits - not from my free will, but due to circumstances. First, Chapters/Indigo as well as Amazon have changed their discount policies - at almost the same time. (Seriously, how do they expect the regular consumer to believe there's no collusion/price fixing among them?!) It used to be 10% off on books over 10$, 24% off on books over 15$ and 34% off on books over 25$... but those everyday online discounts are gone :( I'm not sure what is their current policy as I see 8% and 11% on some books, but do not know how it is decided. Second, it really doesn't help that the Canadian dollar is soooo low :( Suddenly, book prices are increasing - print and e-format - and Book Depository or shopping in the States aren't as attractive either. So yeah, I'll be stalking Chapters/Indigo website, waiting for sales and promotions and hoping that books I really want to buy make it to the best-seller list ^_^; On the positive side, it'll probably mean I'll buy less books which given the state of my room and TBR pile is not a bad thing... However, it'll also mean I'm going to stick more with auto-buys and will less likely be inclined to pick up new authors on impulse. Oh, and my days of pre-ordering are most likely over as well :(

What did I read

Contemporary romance: 62
Urban Fantasy: 14
New Adult (Contemporary): 14
Historical romance: 12 (Regency: 11, Western: 1)
Romantic Suspense: 11
Young Adult: 11 (Contemporary: 9, Mystery: 1, Fantasy: 1)
Category romance (Contemporary): 10
Paranormal romance: 7
Mystery/Thriller/Cosy Mystery: 4
m/m romance (NA, Contemporary): 3
Fantasy: 3
Sci-Fi: 1
Fiction: 1

Well, no big surprise about what I read. Contemporary romance is again the big winner in 2015. I've always had a preference for it and considered it my go-to genre. Remember how I mentioned earlier that I went for "safer" bets in 2015? Yep, those "safer" bets would be contemporary romance. That, combined with the renewed and continued popularity of sport and small-town romances respectively as well as the current "billionaire" trend, probably explains why my number for contemporary romances has increased so much. The past few years, I was pretty constant with about 40 reads... but sharp increase this year: +22. As for the rest, well the numbers are down for almost every other genres. The math is pretty simple: total books read down and contemporary romance up ^_^;

For 2016, I don't really have any expectations. Sure, I'd like to bulk up my UF and Fantasy reads a bit, but Contemporary romance is still very popular. Considering I'm a pretty current reader, I feel my reading actually reflects not only my reading tastes, but what's being published as well... so it's not totally all in my hands :P

Who published them

1. Penguin (Berkley, NAL, ROC, Putnam, etc.): 40
2. Self-published: 25
3. Harlequin (HQN Books, Mira, SuperRomance, KISS, Mills & Boon, Carina Press, etc.): 19
4. Harpercollins Publisher (Avon, Avon Impulse, etc.): 15
5. Simon & Schuster: 14
6. Macmillan (St. Martin's Press, etc.): 12
6. Hachette (Grand Central Publishing, Little Brown Books, Headline, Orbit, etc.): 12
8. E-Publishers (Samhain, Entangled, Montlake, Tule): 6
9. Kensington: 3
10 .DAW: 2
10. Sourcebooks: 2
12. Bloomsbury: 1
12. Hyperion: 1
12. Subterranean Press: 1

I've always maintained that I'm a mainstream publishers reader and I still believe it's true. A few years ago, if you have told me that self-published books would be #2 on my list, I would not have believed you... however, there is no denying the changes in the publishing industry. And do I want to go against it? No, not if it means I'd miss out on so many good books. I'm still quite picky though on self-published and e-publisher books. Most of the time, I need to be already familiar with the authors or it comes as a recommendation for me to pick up the book. All those freebies on Amazon? Not for me. Also, as Li pointed out, authors who non-traditionally published books tend to have more releases per year which explains in part the jump of self-published books to #2 :)

Otherwise, I'm pretty predictable when it comes to the traditional publishers. My big three remains Penguin, Harlequin and Harpercollins. The big surprise for me: the total absence of Random House Publishing in my reading. That is crazy!

When were they published

2015: 131 (85.6%)
2014: 11
2013: 6
2012: 4

Well, I did say I was a current reader! Still, even that's a huge number for me ^_^; And seriously, nothing published before 2012?! That's  a first for me ^_^; Obviously, I didn't fall in love with any new authors with extensive back-lists LOL.

Anyway, I'm kind of torn... do I want to read more older books? I don't know.

How much did I enjoy the book

A: 4 (4 A-)
B: 86 (16 B+, 39 B, 31 B-)
C: 63 (19 C+, 35C, 9C-)

I know I have a reputation for being a tough grader, but this is getting ridiculous! 4 As only?! Actually, not even A, but A-... Looking back though, the last A I have given was back in 2012.  Still, only 4 A reads is a new low for me. Obviously, I need to loosen up a bit ^_^; Then again, most of the time, I grade on feeling/impression and that's how I felt. Perhaps I'm expecting too much? Or am I becoming even tougher with age?

I was also surprised that I had nothing lower than C-... But after reflection, it actually  makes sense. As I mentioned, I had the dreaded "what to pick up next" syndrome this year. I started a lot of books, but did not read them all... See, a book must hold my attention for me to finish it. When it fails to keep me engaged, I just put it aside with the intention of coming back to it - one day. However, they don't go in the DNF category... they just stay in limbo LOL. That's probably why I don't have anything lower than C-.

Random numbers

  • I wrote a total of 16 posts last year, 3 of them were reviews. Embarrassing!! I thought 2014 was bad, but seriously, I can't go lower than this!
  • New-to-me Authors: 38 - I didn't think this number would be this high, but lo and behold! It's also staying consistent with previous years, so can't complain. The most popular new-to-me author this year must be Karen Robards! LOL.
  • Part of a series: 137 - Series are fun... but I do think I need to cut a few of them out of my autobuys ^_^; And part of me really wish more more stand-alones!


There you got it, my numbers for 2015 :) Next will be a recap of my Favorite Reads, so stay tuned!


  1. Your numbers are very interesting Nath! Only 4 As? I thought I was being tough. haha And good on you for reading self-published authors! And I didn't realize how many books you got at RWA. But now that I think about it, I'm not surprised. haha Remember how low your car was on the drive back? LOL

    Also, 137 books being part of a series? That's a lot!

    Good post Nath!

  2. I always enjoy these posts of yours every year. I'd love to see your spreadsheet and compare it to mine. Your spreadsheet sounds awesome.

    That's a lot of books part of series that you're reading. You also read a lot of books last year and only four of them were A reads? Wow, you're a tough nut to crack. Haha.

    I find it very interesting that so much of the books you read last year was released last year as well. I'm the same way but I want to read more older releases so I'm going to try to read more and reading the Alpha and Omega series right now is helping me with that resolution. Ha!

    Great post as always, Nath. My inner geek squeed!

  3. I hate the reading slumps I fall into when I just can't decide what to read next. :( You had a pretty good reading year though it seems. That's an impressive amount of new releases you got through!

    I need to read more contemporary romances. I used to read a lot more of those but PNR has become my comfort genre.

  4. I'm glad you could write this post! I like to come here and see your numbers!! Happy reading!

  5. Ames - Thanks Ames! And yes, 4 As. Sigh. I don't know what to do!! It's been decreasing every year ^_^; Am I being too tough? I have no idea... I mean, I don't dole out As, but 4 is a bit few :(

    LOL. Yes, it was a lot of books ^_^; But hey, Reginald (my car) survived the trip and is still going strong!

    One number I wanted to add was the number of series I'm current on... but I need to set some criteria I think and that's where I hit a wall. If it's a first book, should I count it? Should there be a minimum of books to the series before I started counting it... but yes, 137 books being part of a series is a lot... but it's also the reality of today's industry. Not many stand-alones out there!

    Rowena - LOL, glad you enjoyed the post Wena! Hmm, my spreadsheet isn't anything special: title, author, genre, series, publisher, release date (mo/yr), date read and date reviewed. That's it :)

    yeah, I've always been a tough grader... but 4 As, that's a new low :( I want to change that, but I mean, that's how I feel. See, I have difficulty giving out As, but I also have difficulty giving bad grades (below C), so go figure ^_^;

    The good news for you is that there are many good series out there that you haven't read, so you'll have older releases... I need to discover some series or authors with back-lists in order to do so :(

    Samantha - Ugh, reading slumps are the worst. I don't mind not having time to read, because that means I have a life and am busy. But when I have time to read and not knowing what to read? That frustrates the hell out of me :(

    The good news is that there is plenty of good contemporary romances just waiting for you to pick them up! :)

    Sonia - Thanks Sonia! I'm happy I wrote it too!!

  6. Looking forward to your favourite books post! So glad you decided to pull your numbers together, I like these posts :-)

    Your RWA haul was amazing. Definitely worth the trip! Shame about the discounting changes - I haven't really noticed it before (as 90%+ of my purchases are ebooks), but Amazon is not discounting physical books as much as they did before.

    And the self-pubbed stat is interesting - you're right, things have changed so much in a few years!

    16 blog posts isn't that bad - that's at least one per month ;-) I tried to shoot for one a week last year, and it kind of went wrong over summer.

  7. You're not a tough grader - just a discerning one LOL. Only 4 A grades, but your B grades are nice and high. I don't know about anybody else - but I always get discouraged when C grades are even with B grades. Wading through a bunch of "meh, it was OK" books kind be kind of demoralizing after a while.

    Boo! Hiss! On discount and sales policies changing. These days though I seem to get most of my books from my already exploding TBR, the library and services like NetGalley. When I do buy I always seem to wait for sales and then it's usually Harlequin and I'm throwing money around like a crazy woman :) Which is why I need to get back in the habit of keeping a detailed wishlist. A Harlequin sale hits and then I'm at a loss as to what to buy, what I've already bought etc.

    1. "can be kind of..." That's what I get for not proof-reading....

  8. Li - I was planning to write it this week-end, but that didn't happen. Going to try to work on it though :) I'm glad I decided to write this post :) Thanks Li!

    Yes, RWA is definitively worth it... If I read them all. One can always hope LOL. And yes, it sucks about Indigo and Amazon. I wonder why... if it's because print books sales are decreasing :( But anyway, the new policy doesn't push me to buy more books, that's for sure.

    The problem is that out of the 16 posts, not many were books related!

    Wendy - Ha, I like that Wendy! Discerning reader. Unlike you, I'm actually happy that my C grades are high... because that means I'm really discerning. When I started blogging, I really had difficulty giving C grades... Now, it's not an issue anymore :) But I hear you on being demoralized because of all the "meh" books. That's why blogs, reviews and recs are so important!

    At least, you get approved for Netgalley and you're actually pretty good with reading commitments. I'm not, so that's why I don't go for Netgalley anymore :(

    Detailed wishlists really help, when it comes to splurging :)