Do you understand math? Can you agree that 1679 is larger than 1652?
If this numerical fact seems obvious, then you can easily see why the puppies' boycott of Tor books has failed.
Earlier this month I tracked the sales of a sample of ten book titles published by Tor Books. My desire was to see if the puppies' boycott of Tor was having any effect on the publisher's sales.
You can see the titles I tracked, and how I tracked the sales, in my original post or by looking at the endnote below.
But the flaw in my analysis was that I could only present two weeks of sales data since the boycott began on June 19. As a result, some people rightly said it was too early to tell if the boycott was failing or succeeding.
After examining two additional weeks of sales data it appears my initial analysis was correct. This new data shows that for the five weeks prior to the boycott starting on June 19, the total weekly sales average for these Tor titles was 1652 books per week. For those same Tor titles, their total weekly average sales for the last four weeks of the boycott has been 1679 books per week.
So on average, Tor's total sales for these titles are up slightly since the boycott started.
Here's a chart tracking the weekly sales of these Tor novels. The yellow line represents the average weekly sales of these novels prior to the start of the boycott. The red line is the weekly total sales numbers. You can see total sales for each individual week by hovering over the red line.
Total Weekly Sales for Selected Tor Titles
Red: Total sales per week for selected Tor titles (see endnote for titles)
Yellow: Average sales per week for selected Tor titles for five weeks prior to boycott
As you can see, there's a lot of variation in the week-to-week sales total for these selected Tor novels. That's normal for the sales of any publisher's titles. But what we don't see is a sharp dropoff like you'd expect if this boycott was successful. Instead, the sales are continuing to group around the average weekly sales Tor saw before the boycott began.
And it's hard to argue with 1679 being larger than 1652. With the four-week post-boycott sales average for these Tor novels slightly higher than before the boycott, I don't see how anyone can say the boycott is succeeding.
Stick a fork in that puppy boycott, because their hushpuppy campaign is done.
For this analysis I tracked the sales for the following Tor novels over nine-week period (five weeks prior to the boycott and four weeks after it started). The sales were tracked with Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 60% of actual physical book sales.
- The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (mass market paperback)
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (trade paperback)
- Willful Child by Steven Erikson (hardcover)
- The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (hardcover)
- Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (mass market paperback)
- Lock In by John Scalzi (hardcover)
- A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab (hardcover)
- The Just City by Jo Walton (hardcover)
- Like a Mighty Army by David Weber (mass market paperback)
- The Architect of Aeons by John C. Wright (hardcover)
It's extremely difficult to track every Tor novel on their large backlist so I selected these ten novels to demonstrate sales across a range of different publishing formats (hardcover, trade paperback and mass market paperback). All of these Tor titles had previously appeared on the Locus bestseller lists in the months before I began tracking their sales.
Obviously the best thing would be to have easy access to sales data for all Tor titles. But until this data is made available, I believe my analysis is the best way to track any effect the Tor boycott is having.