Pesky Numbers

Laura Lippman, Baltimore's best mystery novelist, tells the truth about book readings. How does she feel about an audience of sixteen people?

I count that turnout a success. I count anything above nine a success. Five-to-nine, perfectly respectable. Two-to-four, an intimate gathering. Zero: a misprint in the schedule has kept my public away. The only thing that bums me out is one. And then only because I feel sorry for the poor stranger who now feels obligated to stay and listen.

She should keep up the blogging, don't you think?

I wonder why the book world has such issues with numbers (how many books sold does it take to make a bestseller, how many copies of a book have been printed, etc - all mysteries or half-truths) Is it because they're not good at the math? Or will it just be all too embarassingly obvious that people don't buy books?

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