Thus, the Hawking Index (HI): Take the page numbers of a book’s five top highlights, average them, and divide by the number of pages in the whole book. The higher the number, the more of the book we’re guessing most people are likely to have read.
The methodology here is really just-for-fun, but seeing which books people seem to abandon the most frequently is something we all kinda want to know.
Yet, as a new edition of this 1926 classic by Ernest Hemingway shows, up until the final galleys, Cohn’s college feats were not even included in the opening chapter. Originally, Hemingway began his tale of the Lost Generation by introducing its beautiful and heartsick embodiment, Brett Ashley: “This is a novel about a lady.” This discarded first chapter, along with other deletions, earlier drafts and alternate titles, is included in a new edition of the novel that Scribner is releasing later this month.
I’m not sure if this new edition of The Sun Also Rises is interesting or just a way to drum up interest in the book or both. Kinda like how there seems to be a new edition of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue remastered every other year.
Sales of both hardcovers and trade paperbacks, the industry’s two largest print categories, were up 2% in the first six months of this year, compared to the first half of 2013, leading to an overall 1% gain in print unit sales at outlets that report to Nielsen BookScan. The best-performing format in the period was board books, which had a 17% increase, while sales of physical audiobooks finished the first half of 2014 with a 6% increase. Unit sales of mass market paperbacks, however, continued to decline, falling 12% so far this year.
Good job, print books. Good job.