Roses are red .... the top love stories?

St Valentine's Day. What are the most popular love stories? Taking library holdings as a proxy for popularity.
Lorcan 1 min read
Roses are red .... the top love stories?

One of the nice things about WorldCat is that is has sufficient scale to be a good proxy for a large part of the scholarly and cultural record. The aggregate holdings of thousands of libraries contain not just books, but movies, music, and so on. It is not complete but it gives good results.

In honor of St Valentine’s day, my colleagues JD Shipengrover and Diane Vizine-Goetz have produced a list of the most widely held love stories in libraries – the most widely held books and the most widely held movies.

Here are the lists … It is interesting seeing the similarities between the two.


  1. Pride and Prejudice
  2. Jane Eyre
  3. Wuthering Heights
  4. Emma
  5. Sense and Sensibility
  6. The Great Gatsby
  7. Anna Karenina
  8. The Return of the Native
  9. The Portrait of a Lady
  10. Mansfield Park


  1. Jane Eyre
  2. Gone With the Wind
  3. Pride and Prejudice
  4. Emma
  5. West Side Story
  6. Sense and Sensibility
  7. The Sound of Music
  8. Romeo & Juliet
  9. Titanic
  10. The Princess Bride

These lists are based on a fiction (books and movies) subset of Worldcat, using the genre data in the records. The data is clustered at the work level, to consolidate editions and so on. A little more context is at the list page.

Picture: I took this picture of my copy of Persuasion, not on the list I know, but I do prefer it to Pride and Prejudice and Emma.

Note: Cosmetically amended on 31 March to add feature image, better spacing, headings.

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