Panorama Project

Data-INFORMED insights on libraries and their impact on book discovery, author brand development, and sales

In recent years, market research has confirmed that public libraries remain an important driver of reading activity, and that borrowers are also buyers, but surveys can only tell half the story. Surprisingly, there’s never been a collaborative analysis of public library circulation data to understand the actual impact they have, positive or negative—until the Panorama Project.


Using data to measure the impact more than 16,000 public libraries in the United States have on developing readers, driving book discovery, and generating book sales in their local communities and beyond is particularly timely as there’s fierce competition for every reader’s attention and discretionary spending. Publishers need to understand the complex dynamics of book discovery and sales, and where public libraries fit in their readers’ lives.

The Panorama Project is a cross-industry, collaborative research initiative committed to aggregating and analyzing data from publishers, distributors, booksellers, public libraries, library service providers, search sites, social sites and other relevant data sources, and identify ways publishers and libraries can continue to support their intrinsically related missions while delivering mutually beneficial outcomes.


Our research goals will be focused on three areas: Discovery, Brand Development, and Sales. We hope to inform and provide insight on challenging questions such as:


Public libraries and librarians use many approaches to connect readers at all skill levels and ages with books and authors. For decades public librarians have honed their skills in what is known in the library world as Readers’ Advisory Service—an umbrella term for the many activities that librarians use to aid readers in finding books that they will enjoy reading. Readers’ Advisory Service is basic to public libraries, even though its impact on the publishing industry has generally been ignored.


Panorama Picks provides local booksellers with quarterly lists of under-the-radar fiction, nonfiction, and young adult backlist titles library patrons are waiting to borrow—optimized for local interest via regional groupings aligned with the American Booksellers Association’s (ABA) regional associations.


In partnership with publishers and library vendors, the Panorama Project analyzes the impact of library marketing and events on discovery of specific titles and authors, and sales via local booksellers any beyond. The 2018 Community Reading Event Impact Report researched and analyzed the impact of a public library-sponsored digital book club campaign on discovery, author/brand awareness, and retail sales of first-time author Jennifer McGaha’s memoir, Flat Broke With Two Goats (Sourcebooks, 2018).

The Panorama Project is an open membership initiative. Join us!