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Panorama Picks Spotlights Regional Differences in Anti-Racist Books at Public Libraries

Wednesday, July 1, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Cross-industry initiative identifies titles with unmet demand beyond the bestsellers

(New York, NY - July 1, 2020) — With bookstores and libraries closed to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, library ebooks and Amazon have become critical platforms for readers. As civil unrest swept across the country alongside the pandemic, interest in New York Times Bestsellers Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility and Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist spiked as they appeared on myriad anti-racist and social justice book lists. The demand for both books was so high that print editions were on backorder from bookstores, and few libraries had enough copies of the ebooks to meet local demand.

The Panorama Project, in collaboration with the Washington Post, has released a customized version of its Panorama Picks to spotlight a broader range of titles of interest to readers that are similar to the most frequently recommended titles on anti-racist reading lists. The nine regional lists include a total of 42 unique titles published between 2003–2020, all related to civil rights, and race and ethnic relations—reflecting the diverse interests and perspectives of readers in each region.

"Almost every ‘anti-racist’ reading list I’ve seen features the same five or ten books, and several of them have re-appeared on national bestseller lists as a result," said Panorama Project lead, Guy LeCharles Gonzalez. "Usually, Panorama Picks’ primary goal is to identify recent titles that have moved past their initial marketing windows but have unmet demand in libraries—useful data for local booksellers and authors. In this case, the surge in ‘anti-racist’ book lists led to print editions of several of the most frequently recommended titles selling out and going on backorder, so there was unmet demand on the retail side, too."

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About the Panorama Project

The Panorama Project is a cross-industry research initiative working towards purposeful collaboration and transparency to more accurately measure the role public libraries play in the book business, while partnering with publishers and libraries to measure and analyze the impact of library marketing and events on discovery of specific titles and authors, and sales via local booksellers any beyond.

The project is led by Guy LeCharles Gonzalez ( and an advisory council which includes members from Penguin Random House, Sourcebooks, Open Road Media, American Library Association, Audio Publishers Association, Cuyahoga County Public Library, NISO, OverDrive, and Ingram Content Group. Initial funding is being provided by OverDrive, Inc.

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