ERIC Number: ED463763
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Title Attributes of Successful Books in the United States: 1910-1990.
Robinson, William C.
This study examined titles of successful books, i.e., those that were best sellers or won literary prizes. In all, 3,239 titles in 71 lists by decade were characterized. The single largest category was popular general fiction followed by general nonfiction. About 49% of the titles won or were nominated for awards, and 45% were best sellers. Most titles were issued in the 1950s through the 1990s. The median book title contained 3.5 words, the mode was 2.4 words, and the mean was 2.8 words. One-word titles accounted for 17% of the sample, two word titles for 34%, three word titles for 20%, and longer titles for 29%. Few titles included color words or place names, but about 16% included the name of a person. Only 2% of the tittles contained a subtitle, and the mean subtitle was 4 words long. Few titles, about 10%, contained a noun or verb word found in another title. There was little significant change over time. Attached tables show the sample distribution by category, sample distribution by decade, title length by category, and title length by decade. (Contains 18 references.) (Author/MES)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A