News for Authors

A Spotlight on The StoryGraph

by Phil Stamper-Halpin & Olivia Oudinot|May, 2024

The Consumer Insights team conducts monthly surveys of avid readers to understand how their lifestyles, activities, and reading habits are impacted by current events over time. This month, we’re spotlighting The StoryGraph, a relatively new and engaging book tracking and recommendation web platform.

Please note: these insights were gathered from The Reader Lounge, A PRH Research Community, which is PRH’s in-house proprietary research panel. This panel is not nationally representative and consists of avid readers who opt-in to join the community to participate in surveys and research activities.

In this survey, we asked panelists who use The StoryGraph—also called Storygraph—to discover books for their thoughts about the site and its features in comparison to Goodreads. In this survey, we found that 9 percent of surveyed avid readers (roughly ~572) use StoryGraph to discover books.

So what is StoryGraph?

Founded in 2019, The StoryGraph is a Black woman–owned book tracking and social platform that gives readers an alternative to Goodreads. The platform allows readers to log and rate their books, but unlike Goodreads, it is driven by data, offering users detailed graphs and reports on their reading habits as well as in-depth customizable recommendations and reading goals.

Here are two unique features of StoryGraph that appeal to readers:

Genre, pacing, and mood: When a user logs a book, the focus is on the book’s key attributes. You may see a book listed as “fast-paced” or “medium-paced.” It may feature moods such as “emotional” or “hopeful” or “dark.” And genres are very detailed, such as “fiction lgbtqia + romance young adult” or “fiction historical speculative fiction.” These details better prepare readers for the book they’re reading, and also play a factor in StoryGraph’s recommendation system.

In-depth recommendation system: While recommendations are a key part of any book platform or retail site, The StoryGraph aims to go deeper. When asked “What are you in the mood for?” you can select comparable books, moods, pacing, genre, and page count.

For more features, check out The StoryGraph’s website!

Who’s on StoryGraph?

From the survey posed to The Reader Lounge consisting of avid readers, we found that younger readers, ages 18 to 34, are more likely to use StoryGraph. Additionally, surveyed avid readers are likely to use StoryGraph, especially for tracking reading stats and reading progress. They also use it for book recommendations and discovering new books.

 

Why do users like StoryGraph?

Survey respondents who use StoryGraph enjoy it for its ownership, the overall experience, and the platform’s features. Specifically, surveyed readers appreciate that:

  • It is a Black woman–owned business.
  • It has no advertisements.
  • It is easier to navigate than Goodreads, and the interface experience and search features are highlights.
  • The availability of data and the ability to track book stats are very appealing.

Additionally, those who mentioned they use StoryGraph to track book “moods” appreciate the feature and use it to gain more knowledge of their personal reading habits. Overall, we found that surveyed avid readers enjoy using this new program to track their reading stats and reading progress.

Where do authors fit in?

Unlike Goodreads, StoryGraph has no formal Author Program, no separate author profiles to maintain, and currently no way for authors to update their author page or book information. Additionally, there is currently no way to promote books, though StoryGraph is currently beta testing giveaways—so keep an eye out for more developments soon!

 

While other book cataloguing platforms aim to engage authors, StoryGraph’s focus on books can be a benefit to authors. So, authors, if you’ve long sought a platform where you can post about your own reading habits without interacting with readers or having to see their book ratings and reviews, you might want to take a closer look at this exciting new platform.

 

Phil Stamper-Halpin is Associate Director, Author Platforms at Penguin Random House.

Olivia Oudinot is Senior Manager, Community Research, Consumer Insights for Penguin Random House.

Moments: Publishing Trends and Key Occasions for Summer 2024

by April Flores|March, 2024

This summer, consumers will be fed up and looking for ways to adapt to broken societal systems, seeking meaningful understanding of the world and themselves through antiheroes, and seeking a slowed-down season to indulge in big and little pleasures as a respite from stress, climate change, and election noise. . . . Read on to learn more about the insights informing these shifts, and how this impacts the book industry and authors.

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Uncovering the Myths and Truths of the Marketplace: A Video Presentation

by Penguin Random House U. S.|February, 2024

In this newsletter, we are pleased to share an in-depth marketplace analysis to help create a collective understanding around key 2023 marketplace developments and provide actionable analysis on what we can all do in the year ahead. Following an introduction from Nihar Malaviya, CEO of Penguin Random House, a member of our Sales team, Reid Welsh, Senior Director, Sales Analysis, shares trends and developments about our ever-evolving book marketplace. From the impact of publishing during elections to category growth drivers, this presentation explores the opportunities, realities, and myths of the current marketplace.

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Growing Inclusive Audiences with The Reader Lounge, a PRH Research Community

by Penguin Random House U. S.|February, 2024

The Reader Lounge, a PRH Research Community, is a rebrand of Penguin Random House’s proprietary in-house research panel, where avid readers share their unique perspectives on their preferences, reading behaviors, trends, and other topics relevant to book publishing. It is used in a variety of ways, from testing concepts to genre studies to learning more about consumer needs.

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Moments: Publishing Trends and Key Occasions for Fall 2023

by Grant Griglak |August, 2023

At Penguin Random House, direct communication and relationships with readers are key to marketplace success, and strong consumer marketing and outreach begin with understanding our audience. Penguin Random House Consumer Insights recently released Moments Fall 2023, a report that predicts consumer sentiment and behaviors we can expect during the coming quarter.

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Persona: A Refreshed Way to Reach Today’s Readers

by Grant Griglak |June, 2023

What is Persona?

Persona launched in 2017 as Penguin Random House’s first proprietary market segmentation project. It was our largest market research study of readers in the United States and a major milestone in our company’s journey toward being the most consumer-centric book publisher. The research was rolled out to the entire company, providing foundational insights on U.S. readers while also focusing on understanding and segmenting adult and teen readers, and gaining a better understanding of parents of younger readers.

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How to Develop Multicultural Audiences

by Carolina Meurkins|October, 2022

There are many reasons someone might gravitate towards a book. Take a debut mystery, for example. A reader might pick it up because they are a die-hard fan of the genre. They check out any new mystery title recommended by their favorite BookTokkers. There are readers who gravitate towards a book because of its themes, or because the characters look, speak, or behave like they do. Then there are the readers we have yet to discover, who didn’t expect to fall in love with a title and can become the book’s greatest evangelists.

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Media & Reading Trends Among Middle-Graders & Teens

by Alison Wallach|August, 2022

Penguin Random House recently partnered with Dubit, a children’s media and research company, to better understand what kids and teens watch, read, listen to, and play. Read on to learn more about media trends in these age groups.

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Moments: Publishing Trends and Key Occasions for Fall 2022

by Grant Griglak |July, 2022

At Penguin Random House, direct communication and relationships with readers are key to marketplace success, and strong consumer marketing and outreach begin with understanding our audience. Penguin Random House Consumer Insights is excited to present Moments Fall 2022, a report that predicts consumer sentiment and behaviors we can expect during the coming quarter.

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Moments: Publishing Trends and Key Occasions for Spring 2022

by Grant Griglak |December, 2021

At Penguin Random House, direct communication and relationships with readers are key to marketplace success, and strong consumer marketing and outreach begin with understanding our audience. Penguin Random House Consumer Insights is excited to present Moments Spring 2022, a report that predicts consumer sentiment and behaviors we can expect during the coming quarter.

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