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  • Dylan Kling

EU by the numbers: ranking the Star Wars Legends authors

A bit over two months ago I set out to find out what were the best and worst books in the EU. Not by one person's opinion, but the opinions of the masses to get a rough estimation of what the fans consider to be the best and worst books. In that quest I scoured five of the most popular websites that allow users to give ratings to books. These being Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and anobii. I compiled all 1,522,923 user ratings on those sites of the over 280 EU novels into excel sheets so I can break down that data. Last month I compared the books to each other, ranking them and then breaking down the numbers further first looking at the adult novels, then the YA novels then all together. 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 I will use those same numbers to look at the authors. Now I wanted to create one master list like I did with the books of the authors from worst to best based on these metrics used to gather this data. However I ran into the same problem I did last month when trying to compare novels year to year. That being that if you were to average multiple books together, there isn't one way to do it.

Now if you've read my previous articles in this series where I explain the difference between the average and weighted average and what that means you can skip the next paragraph. But for those that don't I'll run through it again.

Lets say you have 10 books, each have a number of people that have given it a rating out of 5 stars, and an aggregated rating based on those ratings. How would you determine what the average rating of these books are? Well you could just take each book's aggregated rating and add them together then divide by 10. This would be the standard way of calculating averages and would give you a rating that was the average of the 10. However, what if those books don't have the same number of ratings? What if one or two books have well over twice the number of ratings as the others? Well to calculate the ratings by average wouldn't be fair, as more people have given those books the ratings they have than the others. So you could figure out the total number of stars each book got by multiplying the aggregated rating by the numbers of ratings. Then add each book's total number of stars together, and divide by the total number of people that gave a rating. This would give you a weighted average, and ensure that those books that more people gave a rating to are weighted more than those books that didn't. For the more mathematically inclined the formula looks like this.

To demonstrate this difference I calculated the percent difference between the weighted average and average for each author with more than one book written in the Star wars Legends universe, and ranked them from highest to lowest. Basically being higher on this list means that there is a greater difference between the aggregated star rating on their books with more ratings than those with less ratings. I also included how many books they've written next to their names, which is something I've done for all tables in this article.

You also may have noticed that I separated co authors. This is because in most cases whenever there is two authors that wrote a book at least one of them has at least one other Star Wars book in their resume that the other did not write. Therefore to compare them fairly it would be best to take into account all book they have written. The exceptions being the brothers Paul and Hollice Davids that wrote the Jedi Price Series together and nothing else, Dan Cragg, David Sherman that wrote Jedi Trial and nothing else, and Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck that wrote Honor Among Thieves under the pen name James S. A. Corey and nothing else. I decided to include them each individually just for consistently though in the rankings they will share the same rank as their co author as they will be in a sense tied with that co author.

So with all of that we have the list, or lists of the EU authors ranked from worst to best, based on the metrics of over 1.5 million user ratings across the five major book rating websites. Again this isn't my opinion, this is just what the data says. So don't get mad at me if your favorite author isn't as high as you think they should be.

(Left Average, Right Weighed Average)

A lot of these are to be expected, especially after looking at how the books stacked up. The average star rating for the authors for the normal average was 3.6977 stars, where as for the weighted average was 3.7071 stars. I do find it interesting the the OT novelization authors ended up so high on the list, and that the YA authors didn't do as bad as I thought they would. I have some more about the authors but I'll save that for Monday so this doesn't get too long, but in the meantime let us know what you think? How did your favorite author's do? Which list do you prefer? And if you have any other ideas on how to look at this data I've collected let us know.

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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