Tag Archives: decision science

Cases from the diary of a budding decision scientist – Do we read more in November and December?

At Mu Sigma, our work is to analyse. We sift through gigabytes of data, clean them and slice them to find trends. I feel like a smart detective when I find out the reasons behind a certain trend (which we call insight), when I am able to explain what is going wrong, how and why.

Since I joined Mu Sigma, I brought about some changes in my life. Now, I document my daily expenses in an Excel sheet that calculates the monthly total for me. I also have a spreadsheet that tells me how many copy my ebook, Bound by Life, has sold, and how many KENP pages of it has been read. Which brings me to the topic of this blog-post.

Those of you who have Kindles might know about Kindle Unlimited (KU) subscription, by which you can read many books for free for a monthly fee. Bound by Life is enlisted in Kindle Unlimited, so if you have a subscription, you can read it for free on your Kindle! As such, I get data from Amazon about how many pages have been read  each day. So, I cooked up the following graph:

bbl reading trend

Bound by Life released on June 20, 2015. But it wasn’t until August that people started reading it through KU. as you can see, there is a  spike in pages  read in November, which continued till December. As any data scientist will tell you, this historic data is too small to make a trend out of it. You at least need data of one year to figure out a pattern. Else, the data becomes subject to many external factors. For example:

  1. Did people see more Ads of Bound by Life in Amazon during November and December, which prompted them to read it? Every big e-tailer sends out emails listing products that you might be interested in buying. So does Amazon. Until now, I have received emails twice in which my book was listed as a book that I might like to read! Did these emails resulted in the spike in November? Or was it the ads that list related products when you browse items on Amazon that contributed to the spike?
  2. Did word of mouth result in the book read more often in November and December? For example, my roommate was reading the book around that time and she went back to office and told her colleagues that her roommate has written a book, so they should check it out! I am not sure how effective that was in case of my roommate, but what about the other readers out there who read Bound by Life? Did they recommend it to their friends? (If you did, thank you so much! There is nothing better for a writer than a reader’s enthusiastic recommendation)
  3. Or is it really that people are reading more during November and December? Do the chilly November and December nights make you sit inside your blankets and pull out your Kindles to read more often?

The third point (or hypothesis, in data sciences terminology) is something that I would like to investigate further. But I need more data to prove anything. So, dear reader, I turn to you for help!

Below is a small poll for you. It will take only a minute, so please do vote! Better yet, you can see the results yourself!

 P.S: Bound by Life is available on Amazon for $2.99, and for free download with a KU subscription! Give it a shot today!