Computers May Predict Bestsellers

Computers may soon predict which fiction books may become bestsellers.

Scientists at Stony Brook University in New York say they have developed a computer program that was 84 percent accurate when applied to already published books.

By statistically analyzing literary styles of more than 5,000 published books and identifying characteristic elements researchers found the successful ones had many stylistic similarities.

A photo of the first edition copy of the first Harry Potter book A photo of the first edition copy of the first Harry Potter book "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" by author J.K. Rowling taken at Sotheby's in London on May 20, 2013. /AP

The analysis showed that in successful books conjunctions, such as "and" or "but," were used more often than in less successful ones. It also found successful authors relied more on nouns and adjectives in describing their stories, and used more verbs to describe thoughts.

Some literary agents say the study has no practical value because evaluation of literary works involves intuition and relationships.

But more than 20 editors rejected J.K. Rawlings first manuscript about boy wizard Harry Potter, which later enjoyed phenomenal success worldwide.

VOA News / Jan. 10, 2014 08:27 KST