Flying memes

Can we show causation between a book genre and its quality?

Quality is subjective, true, but can we show that no matter the audience a fantasy book is always better than an horror book? If this would be the case it’d mean that even readers who prefer horror books should give higher ratings to an horror-fantasy book than an horror book of other sub-genres.

As you might expect my quick investigation shows this is not the case, if we pick the first and second most voted genres for each book on Goodreads we can show that the rating distribution on the first genre doesn’t reflect uniformly inside the second. This means for example, that although “Fantasy” is a very highly rated first genre on average, when picked as a second genre for “Humour” books it actually lowers the average ratings for the “Humour” genre.

Put it another way, there seems to be no magic genre an author can sprinkle in a book to increase its quality. Below you can see in blue how the average ratings for each genre shifts if we restrict the sub-genre to “Fantasy”.