Learn How Public Libraries Impact Title/Author Discovery and Book Sales

The Panorama Project is hosting an educational session at Book Expo in New York on Wednesday, May 29, from 3:00 - 3:45 PM (Room 1E10 at the Javits Center). The session will provide valuable data and insights on the ways that public libraries impact title/author discovery and retail sales. Here’s the session description:

Learn How Public Libraries Impact Title/Author Discovery and Book Sales: Data-Driven Insights from the Panorama Project

The Panorama Project is the only cross-industry research project studying the impact of 17,000 U.S. public libraries on title/author discovery and retail sales. The project is using real world data and analytics to provide insights into how libraries affect retail sales. Learn the many ways that libraries promote new authors and connect readers with new titles—and how these activities translate to sales. Hear how Penguin Random House uses libraries to develop audiences for its authors and launch new titles. Publishers and booksellers will leave this session with actionable ideas on to use libraries to connect with book borrowers and buyers.


  • Cliff Guren, Project Lead, Panorama Project

  • William Kelly, Adult Programming Manager, Cuyahoga County Public Library

  • Skip Dye, VP of Library Marketing and Digital Sales and VP of Sales Operations, Penguin Random House

We hope to see you at the session!

Our Readers’ Advisory Activities Survey is Live: Please Participate!

The Readers’ Advisory Impact Committee’s survey of Readers’ Advisory activities is live. The survey is open to all U.S. public libraries and public librarians. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete. The committee will be collecting responses through May 21.

The committee created this survey as part of its ongoing effort to catalog and measure the impact of public library Readers' Advisory activities—including activities that take place onsite and online. 

The committee is also updating its recently published Directory of Readers’ Advisory Activities with new activities, additional examples and more information on relevant Readers’ Advisory resources for practitioners.

We need your help:

  • Please take the survey now

  • Please help us promote the survey. Share this link with the public librarians in your network: http://bit.ly/ra_survey

Every response counts! Thank you…

The directory and survey are the first steps in the Panorama Project’s effort to document and measure the impact of public library readers’ advisory activities on title/author discovery and retail sales.

The project will publish its survey findings this summer.

For more information on the survey contact raic@panoramaproject.org

Community Reading Event Report Update

Last November we published our Community Reading Event Impact Report which presented our findings on the impact of the April 2018 Big Library Reads event on the sales of first-time author Jennifer McGaha’s Flat Broke with Two Goats (Sourcebooks, 2018). The report tracked sales of the book from its publication in January through May 2018. This post provides additional insight on the impact of the campaign over the remainder of 2018. The update is based on sales and marketing data generously provided by Sourcebooks.

While print and ebook sales declined following the community reading event in early April and Sourcebooks’ social media campaign in late April/early May, the publisher reported that the rate of decline was slower than usual for similar titles. Sales in June, July, and early August remained close to the pre-campaign sales levels the title established in March.

Ebook Unit Sales

In addition, the strong sales that the title enjoyed during the community reading event generated enough sustained interest to warrant two special ebook promotions--one in July and one in November. These promotions clearly impacted ebook sales (as seen below), but also correspond to increases in print sales during the same time periods.

Print Unit Sales

The July promotion drove sales volumes close to the peak volumes established during the community reading event. The November promotion drove another substantial lift. (Note that December ebook sales numbers were not available for this update.) Post-campaign ebook sales (May through November) stayed above pre-campaign levels.

We will be conducting additional community reading event studies throughout 2019.

Panorama Project Open Meeting Draws a Crowd at ALA Midwinter

Our open meeting at ALA Midwinter in Seattle drew quite a crowd—75 people joined us for an update on the project and a preview of our 2019 research plans. The session began with Steve Potash (Founder & CEO, Rakuten OverDrive) speaking about the ongoing need for objective data that can help educate the publishing community on the valuable work libraries do to connect readers with books and authors. Cliff Guren (Panorama Project lead) then recapped the project’s accomplishments over the past 10 months and gave an update (posted here) on the 2018 sales of Flat Broke with Two Goats, the title highlighted in the project‘s recently published Community Reading Event Impact Report.

Cliff then introduced a new initiative called Panorama Picks. This project uses aggregated, anonymized library ebook demand data to surface titles beyond the current bestseller list in high demand at public libraries. The project will compile lists of in demand adult and young-adult fiction and non-fiction titles on a quarterly basis. The lists will be shared with booksellers at no cost to help raise the visibility of the titles and promote sales. More information on Panorama Picks will be posted closer to the target launch date in late March.

The focus then turned to Readers’ Advisory. Magan Szwarek (Director of Reference Services at the Schaumburg, Illinois Township District Library and Readers‘ Advisory Impact Committee co-chair) introduced the committee’s first work product. The Directory of Readers’ Advisory Activities catalogs the many services, programs, and marketing campaigns that public libraries and librarians, use to connect readers with books and authors. This first of its kind publication is the work of a committee of over 40 librarians and industry professional convened in fall 2018 by the Panorama Project. The full directory and a quick guide to Readers’ Advisory are available for download. You can also browse an online version of the full directory. The committee invites readers to share their feedback and submit additional activities, examples and useful links.

We were delighted to see that our open meeting was one of the sessions highlighted in Publishers Weekly’s show summary.

Learn more about the Readers’ Advisory Impact Committee and the Directory of Readers’ Advisory Activities

View/download our media alert on the publication of the directory (PDF)

View/download the session presentation (PDF)

Panorama Project “Directory of Readers’ Advisory Activities” Now Available

The Panorama Project Readers’ Advisory Impact Committee (RAIC) has published its first work product. The committee’s Directory of Readers’ Advisory Activities catalogs the many services, programs, and marketing campaigns that 16,000-plus U.S. public libraries and over 45,000 public librarians use to connect readers with books and authors. This first of its kind publication is the work of a committee of over 40 librarians and industry professional convened in fall 2018 by the Panorama Project. The RAIC introduced the directory at the Panorama Project’s open meeting at the American Library Association’s Midwinter conference. The full directory and a quick guide to Readers’ Advisory are available for download. You can also browse an online version of the full directory. The committee invites readers to share their feedback and submit additional activities, examples and useful links.

The directory provides descriptions and examples for 16 book/author recommendation services and activities. They include librarian-to-patron activities such as in-person conversations and recommendations, and library-to-community activities such as reading groups and book clubs, newsletters, author events, and a wide range of social media activities and virtual displays. The committee will continue cataloging Readers’ Advisory activities and reference examples. Updates will be published on a regular basis. Next, the committee will be surveying the country’s public libraries to determine which advisory activities are most prevalent and measure the effectiveness of the most widely adopted activities.

The Panorama Project convened the RAIC to research and document the wide variety of Readers’ Advisory services, activities, and title recommendations provided by public libraries and librarians. The committee is co-chaired by Bill Kelly (Adult Programming Manager, Cuyahoga County Public Library), Cindy Orr (Digital Collection Advisor, OverDrive), and Magan Swarek (Director of Reference Services, Schaumburg Township District Library).

Learn more about the Panorama Project Reader’s Advisory Impact Committee.

Panorama Project to Hold Open Meeting at ALA Midwinter


The Panorama Project is holding an open meeting at ALA Midwinter—the project’s first gathering at an ALA event!

Date: Saturday, January 26, 2019

Time: 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Location: Washington State Convention Center (705 Pike St., Seattle, WA 98101), Conference Room 3B

The agenda for the meeting will include:

  • An introduction to the project by Cliff Guren, Project Lead, including a review of the project’s progress to date and an update on its research plans for 2019.

  • Magan Szwarek, Reference Services Director for Schaumberg Township District Library, and co-chair for the Readers’ Advisory Impact Committee, introducing the committee’s newly compiled Directory of Readers’ Advisory Activities.

  • A review of the data and findings in the project’s recently published community reading event report which examined the impact of nationwide library reading campaign on the discovery, social media mentions, and sales of first time author Jennifer McGaha’s Flat Broke with Two Goats.

All interested publishing community stakeholders—librarians, publishers, booksellers, authors, industry service providers, industry organizations, and others—are invited to join us for this unique opportunity to learn about and discuss the project’s research on the many ways that libraries connect readers with books and authors.

Refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP if you plan on attending the meeting. 

If you can’t attend the meeting, but would like to arrange a time at ALA Midwinter to learn about the project please email us.

First Panorama Project Research Report Released

Today the project is releasing its first research report. The project’s Community Reading Event Impact Report presents findings on the impact of a recent OverDrive Big Library Read (BLR) community reading campaign. First-time author Jennifer McGaha’s Flat Broke With Two Goats (Sourcebooks, 2018) was selected for the April 2018 public library ebook club event. The data analyzed by the project shows that the selection and promotion of the title for the April 2–16, 2018 event aligns with significant increases in associated social media activity and retail print/ebook sales.

Discovery Impact from the Campaign

  • 5.6 million page views globally of the ebook title details page in public library digital catalogs.

  • An increase in title’s Amazon Kindle sales rank—from below 200,000 prior to the library ebook club campaign to 7,833 at the close of the event.

Brand Development Impact from the Campaign

  • Over 13,000 Goodreads members added the title to their shelves during the campaign.

  • 400+ comments from readers, librarians, the author, and OverDrive forum moderator on the OverDrive moderated title discussion board.

  • 500+ mentions from libraries and readers across social media using #BigLibraryRead.

Retail Sales Impact from the Campaign

  • 818% growth in ebook sales from March to April, 2018.

  • 201% growth in print sales from March to April, 2018.

  • Sustained retail sales above pre-campaign (January–March 2018) volumes:

    • April–June 2018 ebook sales continued at 720% above pre-campaign volumes.

    • April–June 2018 print sales continued at 38% percent above pre-campaign volumes.

Data was aggregated from a number of sources to obtain the most holistic view possible of all library and retail sales activity (print and ebook) across multiple channels. The data sources include U.S. retail data from The NPD Group’s DecisionKey® retail book sales tracking service (formerly Bookscan™), U.S. public library ebook circulation data provided by OverDrive, and U.S. sales and marketing data from the publisher. In addition to sales data we have aggregated and incorporated promotional activities known to have been undertaken independently by OverDrive and Sourcebooks.

This is the first of several library impact research projects that we are working on. The report demonstrates how we are using library and retail data to develop a better understanding of the impact of the country’s public libraries on book discovery, author/brand development, and retail sales. We believe that the publication of this first report will serve as a catalyst for others in the publishing community to engage with the project. We are grateful for the contributions and support of Sourcebooks and the members of our Advisory Council—all of whom have provided insightful and helpful feedback.

View/Download the Report

View/Download the Media Alert

Another Industry Leader Has Joined Our Advisory Council

We are delighted to announce another addition to our Advisory Council: Michele Cobb, Executive Director of the Audio Publishers Association (APA).

Michele has served on the Audio Publishers Association (APA) board as a director and officer since 2001, and is currently the association’s Executive Director. She is a frequent speaker at events worldwide on audio publishing. As a partner at Forte Business Consulting, she provides PR, Sales, Marketing and Business Development services for the publishing industry, and is Publisher of both AudioFile Magazine and MMB Media, as well as the Audio Publishing Director for L.A. Theatre Works.

Readers’ Advisory Impact Committee Now Forming

The Panorama Project is organizing a Readers’ Advisory Impact Committee to research and document the wide variety of Reader’s Advisory services, activities, and title recommendations  provided by public libraries and librarians. The committee is open to interested libraries and librarians, as well as other industry professionals.

The committee will be investigating all forms of book, genre, series, and author recommendations and merchandising services/activities. These will include programs and activities inside public libraries, public meeting spaces, and community buildings. It will also include a growing list of online channels that readers encounter via library catalogs, reading apps, reading clubs, and social media platforms.

The committee will document and research both direct (one-to-one recommendations) and indirect (one-to-many) Readers' Advisory activities. These include in-library table and shelf displays, library catalog and website displays, reading lists (distributed in print and electronically), newsletters, podcasts, blog posts, author events and visits, and more.

Once compiled, the committee will measure and analyze the impact library Readers’ Advisory activities have on title/author discovery, brand development, and book sales.

The Readers' Advisory Impact Committee will be facilitated by Bill Kelly, Cindy Orr, and Magan Szwarek. The committee will begin holding regular teleconference calls in October.

Click here to learn more about the committee and facilitators

Click here to join the Reader’s Advisory Impact Committee

Additions to the Project Advisory Council

We are pleased to announce two additions to our Advisory Council:

  • Libby Jordan: Executive Director, Partnerships and Specialty Markets, Open Road Integrated Media

    Libby Jordan has been been in publishing for close to three decades—beginning with The Hearst Corporation’s magazine division and, soon thereafter, escaping into the magical world of commercial fiction at Dell/Delacorte (now a division of Penguin Random House) where she oversaw marketing for authors including Danielle Steel, John Grisham, Elmore Leonard, Maeve Binchy, and more. Over the years, Libby has held executive sales, marketing, and training positions with large publishers, independent presses, and a tech start-up or two. She founded a small digital marketing and design firm dedicated to training and educating authors in the effective use of social media and, in her spare time, serves as the director of the Book Division for NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute where, each summer, she works with 100+ recent college graduates looking for their first jobs in publishing. Libby is also, not so secretly, in love with the library reading app Libby, and will wax rhapsodic about it for hours on end. Ask anyone.

  • Dominique Raccah: Publisher and CEO, Sourcebooks

    Dominique Raccah is the entrepreneurial Publisher and CEO of Sourcebooks, the company she founded from her home in 1987. Dominique has lead a continuously growing, pioneering general book publishing house that proudly produces everything from adult and teen fiction, to top titles in children’s books, to baby names and college guides. Sourcebooks is the largest woman-owned book publisher in the country as well as the largest trade book publisher in Chicago. Dominique has been widely recognized as a leader in innovation in book publishing, being named Publishers Weekly Person of the Year in 2016. An inspiring and passionate presenter, Dominique speaks internationally on innovation, the future of book publishing and entrepreneurship, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, The Chicago Tribune, NPR, and The New York Times.