22 Sep 2015

Dive Into Diversity: How Diverse Are Your Shelves? (Bookshop Ed.)

A few months back I did an experiment called, How Diverse Are Your Shelves? It was eye-opening, a lot of fun and not only did you enjoy it, but it got you guys thinking, which was great to see. So for September's post, I decided to do it again, except this time, in a different environment - the bookshop! So here's take two, How Diverse Are Your Shelves? Bookshop edition!
The (estimated) facts:
- Four aisles of shelves equates to a LOT of books. My guess is 900 - 1000 titles in the YA section.
- After browsing the shelves, I found 27 books that counted as diverse (QUILTBAG, POC, authors of colour, nerodiversity, ect). I could only go off of books I knew, so this is an extremely rough estimate and I’m sure I missed at least another half of books that would have counted. Especially since fantasy, dystopian and paranormal aren’t my go-to genres. Add another ~30 books for any I missed and I think that would be about right.
- From a rough estimate, I calculate 6.25 % diverse titles.

Diverse titles I found browsing...

Now, you might be wondering... well, that's seem like a great selection of diverse titles there! And it is. But keep in perspective I searched for them through all these shelves:

Bookshelves in question...

Was I surprised by the results?
Yes, I didn’t actually think they’d have the selection and amount that they did of diverse books. Percentage-wise, it’s still really low, but I was glad to walk in there and be able to find diverse titles. The non-diverse titles obviously outweighed the diverse titles, but that’s to be expected. After all, you have to look at what’s being published and what’s already out there.

What did I learn?
If we want to be able to go into a bookshop and see diversity on the shelves, we need be showing interest and buying diverse titles in-store. This makes sense and is something I already knew, but it's a great reminder!

Overall thoughts:
Very different to the first time I did this experiment with my own shelves, in that I couldn’t be as precise and a lot was calculated guess work. Great to see bookshops stocking diverse titles!

I hope you enjoyed this experiment like you did the last one! So tell me: how diverse are your bookshops? Do you make a point to buy diverse titles in-store? Lastly, have you had any interesting conversations to the staff about books and diversity? I'll leave it there and let you take over in the comments... Don't forget to link up your reviews for this month!

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