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.

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