Judging a book by its title

  December 28, 2005 at 11:27 PM ET
  Cheeser     HPANA (via CBC)
  harry potter title, book titles


British statisticians have createdopens in new window a complex computer model that can determine a book's potential to become a bestseller solely by its title, with a success rate of nearly 70 percent.

The study was commissioned by British literary website Lulu.com, which covers the world of self-publishing. It analyzes the titles of every book to have topped the hardcover fiction section of the New York Times Bestseller List from 1955 to 2004. The winning titles were compared with the titles of less successful novels by the same authors.

When tested on 700 titles published over those 50 years, the computer correctly predicted whether a book was a bestseller more often than not.

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