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Kevin Mac Donnell <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:06:56 -0500
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This article will be of interest to a lot of folks on this list even though it does not deal specifically with Mark Twain.

Using sales figures from more than 300 publications from University of Chicago Press and holdings of those same books as reported in OCLC (WorldCat) they calculated what percentage of university press sales are made to libraries. The average was about 20-25%, but when broken down by category, literary monographs sold a little over 50% to libraries. Of course, the flip side of all of these numbers is that individuals, schools (those not subscribed to OCLC), and others account for non-library sales.

The sample size (one university press only) and reliability of OCLC records are two issues they mention, and of course, how you define “monograph” and some other factors. They voice some interesting notions about what might account for these numbers.

Starting with the numbers from this study, it would be interesting to know how library sales of Mark Twain books published by university presses compare with other categories and/or other literary figures. I’d love to hear from those of you who are privy to sales figures at certain presses (you know who you are!). 

One striking example of non-library sales that comes to mind is the bestsellerdom that struck volume I of Mark Twain’s Autobiography. 

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