• Dylan Kling

EU by the Numbers: breakdown of all the Star Wars Legends novel ratings by publication date

Yesterday I posted an article in my series about the analyzing the 1,522,923 user ratings of EU novels from various book rating websites. In that article all I looked at was the list of the 283 novels with their overall star ratings so I could rank them in order. So if you just want to see that or an explanation in how I got the numbers and the methods I used to calculate them you can do read it here. Today though I want to look at the data in different ways to try an analyze some trends in regards to the novels. As always one of the first things I did was organize the novels by their release year to see some trends over time. This however didn't go well due to the fairly large gap in the first wave of EU books that came out around the time of the OT and the Bantam era, as well as the large number of books that came out in a short time made any graphs difficult to gleam any useful information from.


I decided to instead combine all books released in a given year into one data point and graph each year on it's own. Doing so resulted in this table.

I explain the difference between the Weighted Average and Average for star ratings in this article, but to summarize average is meant to show the average of every book that came out that year on an equal footing where as weighted average is the average that is giving more bias to those books that more people read and left a rating for.


Graphing these we get this


In General the trends we see year to year with the adult novels are what prove out when you combined both the YA and adult novels, like the fact that the early Del Rey years don't see very high ratings except for the novelizations. Thrawn Trilogy really shines as the years they come out are among the highest rated. Though in 92 and 93 you can really see the difference weighted average and average has in the book's star rating. As those years Dark Force Rising and Last Command came out, each one with half the Jedi Prince series, and despite Jedi prince being the lowest rated books by these metrics in the weighted average you barely notice their presence, as an overwhelming amount of ratings that year were for books two and three of the Thrawn Trilogy. Though in the average star rating where they are all equalized those are the lowest two years star ratings wise, as there is just one Thrawn book is up against three Jedi Prince books each year.


From then on the overall trend is a continual upswing. The local peaks seen in the adult graphs continue to show by combining the two with peaks at 1998, 2004, 2006, 2009, and 2012, However unlike the adult list there is no low at 2000 and 2008, while the lows of 2003, 2005, 2010 and 2013 remain. Indicating that the YA books of 2000 and 2008 were enough to smooth out what was otherwise a bad year for the adult novels. Additionally the 90s mid 2000s and early 2010s are when the weighted average most differs with the normal average.


Another way to look at the data is the number of ratings per year and ratings per book. While not a perfect one for one comparison generally a book that has more user ratings has been read more so comparing can show which years had the most active readers.



Like with the adult graphs the impact of the Thrawn Trilogy shines through here. And again contrary to the ratings the 90s were where the peak of the number of ratings. Which is expected as conventional wisdom was that the Bantam era was the most popular when it came out. What I didn't expect was that the next peak came in the years right after ROTS came out. This seems to be because of the release of the first two bane books as well as Republic Commando that are inflating the ratings numbers in these years. There was no peak in 2012 like with the adult novels, instead a peak at 2011 and a slight fall off in 2012, this most likely due to the high number of ratings the YA TCW tie ins had which brought up those numbers. Also 2014 saw a tanking in the number of ratings though that is also because only 2 books came out that year before the EU was cancelled.


It also should be mentioned that the declining ratings over time is expected as the older books have been around longer and thus people have had longer to read them resulting in more ratings.


I decided to graph the ratings per year on their own graph as it is hard to see them on the same graph as the total ratings. Though the Thrawn Trilogy again messed with this graph like it did with the adult novels so I omitted them so we can look at the rest.



We see a similar trend to the total ratings graph though the peak years are a lot closer indicating the variance came from more books not better quality. We see a peak in the 90s then a decline, but a bounce back right starting with the release of ROTS and in 2012. 2014 did see the lowest average despite only having 2 books come out that year though I suspect that is more to do with the decanonization and cancelling of the EU.


Finally I wanted to show off one last ranking list, this one ranking every novel by the total number of ratings they have across the five websites I got this data from. Ratings of course aren't necessarily a measure of how popular these books are, but are representative of how many people felt the need to leave a rating. So make of this list what you will.


So that is all the stuff I noticed from the numbers looking at the all the novels. However just because I'm done looking at the books doesn't mean the series is over. As next I'll be looking at the authors and how they stack up against each other. So check back this Friday for that list and in the mean time let us know what you think, any observations you made, and what you'd like to see me do with these numbers in future articles.


This article is part of a series of articles, click here for the previous article in the series, and here for the next article in the series.

To see more EU news, updates, and original content about the Expanded Universe, click here!

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