More as a data grabbing exercise than anything, I tabulated the Amazon Best Seller list for Science Fiction and Fantasy: https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Books-Science-Fiction-Fantasy/zgbs/books/25/ref=zg_bs_pg_1?_encoding=UTF8&pg=1
This data is a snapshot and right now the list is naturally dominated by Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, so the list contains a lot of different versions of both (print version, audio version, Kindle version etc). It’s also very Amazon with some popular-in-Kindle-unlimited works further down the ranks.
I took the top 100 listed and then did a few things to the data. Firstly, I deleted multiple versions of a work, that will add a bit of bias to the data by understating the impact of biggest sellers. I then classified authors based on name, pronouns, and bios as male, female, non-binary or both (in the case of dual authors). I didn’t identify any authors for the non-binary category. One author name was a joint authorship of a man & woman and was counted as “both”. That took the initial 100 rows down to 84 rows.
I then duplicated that data set and in the second version I deleted multiple works by an author leaving only the highest ranked work from the Amazon list. This was done so a single author wasn’t double counted (or n-tuple counted in the case of J.K.Rowling) but the process reduces the success of authors like Rowling or Stephen King. That took the number of rows down to 55.
The results are delightfully ambiguous with enough contrary results to please multiple readings.
|Gender||All Works||Top Work||All Works Top 50||Top Work Top 50|
- All Works: counts by author gender of the 85 books in the SFF Amazon bestsellers.
- Top Works: counts by author of the 55 books by unique authors in the SFF Amazon bestsellers.
- All Works Top 50: counts by author ranked 50 or better out of the 85 (36 books).
- Top Work Top 50: counts by authors ranked 50 or better out of the 55 (24 books).
Looking at just works ranked 25 or better results in a figure more consistent between the two sets of data.
|Gender||All Works Top 25||Top Work Top 25|
Make of this what you will 🙂