Event date
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Event time
5:30PM - 7:00PM
Event type
220 Stephens Hall (Geballe Room)


More than bestseller lists of academic consecration via syllabi, "comps" (short for "comparative titles") represent the most significant metric of literary value in contemporary publishing. Comps are identified by editors in the acquisition process to predict a book's performance on the market and are often the deciding factor in a new acquisition. In this talk, McGrath will use large-scale computational methods to analyze comp title data obtained from publishers' quarterly catalogues between 2013-2019. She shows how comps produce and replicate "corporate style," not only limiting what--and who--is published, but defining literary style in the contemporary.

Laura McGrath is the Associate Director of the Stanford University Literary Lab and a postdoctoral fellow in English. Her primary interests lie in computational approaches to post45 American fiction. She is at work on a manuscript, a literary history of the agent, entitled Middlemen: Making Literature in the Age of Multimedia Conglomerates. She is also working on a second, trade book called Comps: The Big Data Behind the Book Business.


Find information about the related seminar here.

This event is part of a 3-part Fall 2018 DH lecture series. Find more information about the full series here.