The Diversity Baseline Survey
Why We Created the Diversity Baseline Survey
Lee & Low Books released the first Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 1.0) in 2015. Before the DBS, people suspected publishing had a diversity problem, but without hard numbers, the extent of that problem was anyone’s guess. Our goal was to survey publishing houses and review journals regarding the racial, gender, sexual orientation, and ability makeup of their employees; establish concrete statistics about the diversity of the publishing workforce; and then build on this information by reissuing the survey every four years. Through these long-term efforts, we would be able to track what progress our industry shows over time in improving representation and inclusion.
Why does diversity in publishing matter? The book industry has the power to shape culture in big and small ways. The people behind the books serve as gatekeepers, who can make a huge difference in determining which stories are amplified and which are shut out. If the people who work in publishing are not a diverse group, how can diverse voices truly be represented in its books?
The 2015 Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS) helped to establish a baseline that showed where we were in regards to diversity and encouraged a culture of transparency for our industry. We reissued the survey four years later in hopes that the numbers have improved—a sign that the publishing industry is moving in the right direction and becoming more inclusive.
But have the numbers improved since our first survey?
The 2019 Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 2.0) Results
Four years have passed since the first survey, so did inclusion levels rise or fall? Diversity Baseline Survey 2.0 surveyed an even larger segment of the publishing landscape with all BIG 5 publishers participating this time around, all major review journals, and the addition of academic presses and literary agencies. To read more about the methodology behind DBS 2.0 as well as our analysis, go here.
The 2015 Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 1.0) Results
Here are the results of the original Diversity Baseline Survey 1.0. The largest diversity publishing survey of its kind. The survey included small, medium, and large publishers (3 out of 5 BIG 5 publishers participated). DBS 1.0 also surveyed all the major book review journals.
Further Reading and Resources
Selected Media Coverage of the Second Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 2.0)
Selected Media Coverage of the First Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 1.0)
For permission to reprint or press inquiries, contact: Hannah Ehrlich at dbs[AT]leeandlow.com