Most Abandoned Books List Headed Up by E.L. James and J.K. Rowling
One thing that seems to be gaining ground on the internet is statistics: now we can measure anything and everything, although a great many of these statistics aren’t relevant to a lot of people’s lives (I mean, do I really need to know “The top 3 health-related searches on the Internet are (in this order): Depression, Allergies, & Cancer"?)
Goodreads, on the other hand, pulls together statistics that are of interest, primarily because they pertain to books and readers. Anything that sheds light on the buying/reading habits of readers is of interest to me as a writer. Their latest infographic looks at something they’re calling “the psychology of abandonment,” and it’s about the most-abandoned books and why a reader will leave a book before finishing it.
The results on one hand are unsurprising: of the five most abandoned, they’re all big sellers, including J.K. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m sure there will be people going “How can that be? It was brilliant!” (or not), including me, as I had no trouble getting into The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. But then, I thought the most-abandoned classics list was also revealing (and I’ve finished all of them except Ulysses).
Their analysis of when and why people leave a book unread is also interesting - over 38% of readers finish a book no matter what! On the contrary, the biggest section of abandoners, at almost 28%, abandon a book at between 50 and 100 pages. I quite liked the quote for it too: “I once heard the rule for when to abandon a book is 100 minus your age.”
In this day and age, particularly with the glut of eBooks I have on my eReader, I have to admit to leaving a book unfinished if it’s badly written/edited or the subject matter is uninteresting to me. Yes, I know, bad me. Which begs the question: when do you abandon a book?
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