Monday, October 24, 2011

Why Certain Series Are More Popular

Periodically, I give my site statistics, which is a way to assess which series are the most popular among collectors. This data shows visits to each section of my website for the last six months. I have only given the top 25 series.

1. Nancy Drew - 24,538
2. Sweet Valley High - 16,233
3. Trixie Belden - 5,735
4. Dana Girls - 3,451
5. Judy Bolton- 2,059
6. Beverly Gray - 1,508
7. Vicki Barr - 1,440
8. Cherry Ames - 1,246
9. Kay Tracey - 1,077
10. Ruth Fielding - 1,076
11. Penny Parker - 955
12. Outdoor Girls - 852
13. Moving Picture Girls - 790
14. Connie Blair - 772
15. Betty Gordon - 723
16. Shirley Flight - 715
17. Blythe Girls - 495
18. Sara Gay - 445
19. Sally Baxter - 431
20. Susan Sand - 380
21. Peggy Lane - 349
22. Billie Bradley - 325
23. Kit Hunter - 283
24. Melody Lane - 263
25. Riddle Club - 249

I changed the font color for some of the books to make certain patterns stand out. Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High are by far the most popular series. Trixie Belden is a distant third place but is far in front of the rest.  The Dana Girls is significantly more popular than Judy Bolton, which is just slightly more popular than Beverly Gray, Vicki Barr, and Cherry Ames. 

I used the same font color for Nancy Drew, the Dana Girls, Judy Bolton, Beverly Gray, Vicki Barr, and Cherry Ames because those series were all published by Grosset and Dunlap and were cross-promoted during the 1950s when baby boomers were reading series books.  Overall, those series are the most popular, and I have long had the opinion that those series are the most popular due to the cross-promotion and because they are the ones most remembered by current collectors. 

Additionally, the Dana Girls is much more popular than the other series books, and the strong cross-promotion with Nancy Drew is the probable explanation. The books were advertised as "By the author of the NANCY DREW BOOKS," and I have often seen the books sold on eBay in lots with Nancy Drew books, since many people see "Nancy Drew" on the covers and think the books are Nancy Drew books. I have also seen the books identified in antique shops as Nancy Drew books. Very likely, young readers and their parents made the same mistake decades ago.

Kay Tracey, Ruth Fielding, and Penny Parker have approximately the same popularity.  Those three series were published by Cupples and Leon during roughly the same years as each other and were cross-promoted.

The earlier Grosset and Dunlap series books such as the Outdoor Girls, the Moving Picture Girls, the Blythe Girls, and the Riddle Club do not have the same popularity as the later Grosset and Dunlap series books. This is most likely because these series were published long before current collectors were born.


Lauren said...

I think you're right about the Dana Girls cross-promotion thing. I know that I had not heard of any of the contemporaries of the Nancy Drew series until I went back to reread the NDs in my 20's. I discovered DG through the jackets of ND plus they were right next to one another in the library since they are shelved by author (incidentally, the library has since disposed of the Dana Girls series, I wish I'd caught the book sale that they were undoubtedly sold at.)

I also must have discovered Judy Bolton the same way since I know I'd never heard of it before. The library only had one JB (The Living Portrait), which I unfortunately read first and was thus spoiled on important events in the earlier books (such as Arthur vs. Peter and Honey's identity.)

I have to guess that I discovered all the rest of the Connie Blair/Beverly Gray/Kay Tracey/Vicki Barr series partly through the advertising on Grosset & Dunlap books and partly through reading John Axe's book.

All in all, I would say that the DG series benefited greatly by the "Carolyn Keene" connection because I don't find them to be that interesting on their own. I quite like some of the stories, but character-wise, they are not my favorites.

Hannah said...

I first read Judy Bolton in grade school when I was consistently visiting my local library. Not long after I started collecting the series myself. The reason I prefer Judy Bolton is because she ages. She grows up and gets married. Even as a kid it was odd to me that Nancy Drew never aged. Probably a weird reason to prefer one series over another, but there you have it. :-)