Notes on the Midwinter Bump

For those unfamiliar with the Midwinter Bump, I thought I’d post a more thorough explanation of what this crazy project is all about.

Essentially, I’m looking to quantify the ways librarian efforts contribute to book sales.

What I need: I need a co-conspirator from each awards committee. In order to conspire properly, I’ll need you to provide two titles.

The first one is easy: simply the winner of said prize. If it’s a category that awards multiple titles, I’d prefer one or two titles that would gain the most from greater attention. (I’m guessing Gone Girl doesn’t need too much of an extra boost at this point.)

To demonstrate the impact of an Awards bump, I’d like to take a similar title and compare the sales going forward. Ideally, this title is fairly “close” to the winner – similar appeal factors, sales figures, and price points.

If it’s anything like last year, we can see both immediate effects – the award leading to a spike in sales –  as well as far-reaching benefits, where the prize-winning book enjoys a higher plateau for its ongoing sales. You can see how this worked with the Printz, the Newbery, and the Caldecott winners from last year:


Midwinter Bump 2012 - comparing Where Things Come Back with Everybody Sees the Ants


Newbery: Dead End in Norvelt, compared to Okay For Now


Caldecott: comparing A Ball For Daisy and Bring On the Birds


Of course, this is only one part of the picture, and doesn’t do much to quantify the day-to-day effect of librarians handselling one particular book over another. But it provides us with a useful tool (along with things like Library Journal’s Patron Profiles) to help us advocate for the role libraries play in the bookselling ecosystem.


(I’ll update this as I receive additional volunteers. Are you on an award committee? Would you like to pitch in? Drop me a line.)

Alex Awards
YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction

exploring the intersection of libraries, technology, and community

%d bloggers like this: