Book Subscription Diversity: Are You Surprised by the Stats Halfway Through the Year?


Well, I’ve made it halfway through the year! Rejoice! I set a goal to read 120 books this year and I’ve read 80, which puts me 21 ahead of schedule. I’ll take it!

So far I’ve received books from 12 different subscription boxes.

Editorial standards I’d like to see in major book reviewing / book related publications would be ~50% of coverage for books by women and ~25% for books written by authors of color. I’d like to see the same thing from subscription boxes. The following subscription boxes met that criteria and I’m happy to recommend them.

My Lit Box has sent me 7 books this year.

  • 3 by men
  • 4 by women
  • 7 with authors of color
  • 4 with main characters of color
  • 2 with authors who identify as queer
  • 1 with a character who identified as queer

(Note that I only include stats for queer authors / characters when the information is volunteered. I don’t want to out authors or go digging around on the internet trying to figure out if they’re straight or queer. So! If it’s mentioned or well-known, I will include it. As a queer person, I am very appreciative of queer #ownvoices).

Book Riot’s Riot Mail has sent me 2 books.

  • 1 by a man
  • 1 by a woman
  • 1 by an author of color

(Note that I am a contributor to Book Riot. I am not an employee and have nothing to do with the selections for their subscription box. I pay for my box just like I do for all the other boxes on this list).

Call Number has sent me 6 books.

  • 1 by a man
  • 5 by women
  • 6 by women of color
  • 6 with main characters of color

Deep Vellum has sent me 6 books.

  • 2 by men
  • 4 by women
  • 3 by authors of color
  • 2 with main characters of color

The rest left something to be desired.

Brilliant Books has sent me 5 books.

  • 3 by men
  • 2 by women
  • 0 by people of color
  • 0 with main characters of color

Indiespensables has sent me 3 books this year.

(Note: There have been more sent out this year in this subscription but I skipped the last few boxes because I got the books they were sending in other subscriptions.)

  • 2 by men
  • 1 by a woman
  • 0 by authors of color
  • 0 with main characters of color

Just the Right Book! has sent me 5 books this year.

  • 0 by men
  • 5 by women
  • 0 by authors of color
  • 0 with main characters of color

NYRB has sent me 6 books this year:

  • 4 by men
  • 2 by women
  • 1 by an author of color

Quarterly Literary Box has sent me 7 books

  • 3 by men
  • 4 by women
  • 0 by authors of color
  • 1 with a main character of color

Thrifty Books has sent me 5 books this year.

  • 1 by a man
  • 4 by women
  • 1 by an author of color
  • 1 with a main character of color

Blue Spider’s Attic has sent me 18 books.

  • 11 by men
  • 7 by women
  • 2 by authors of color
  • 2 with main characters of color

Technically, & Other Stories sent me no books by women or people of color in the first half of the year. However, with the way their subscription model works, I only received one book. I actually have their next two books in my TBR right now and I’m glad to say that there is one by a woman and one by a person of color so we’re at 33% for both women and AOC.

For my own accountability purposes, I should say that I’ve read another 19 books for reasons other than this project. Some were gifts, some were necessary for something I was writing, and sometimes I just pick up a book I want to read. Out of 19:

  • 9 were by men
  • 10 were by women
  • 5 were written by authors of color
  • 5 were had main characters of color

So that’s where we’re at halfway through the year! 4 out of 12 sub boxes have made the cut and half of those four exist specifically to try and signal boost works by authors of color. I’d say these stats are a pretty clear sign that this is a service that’s needed.

 

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