Literary critics are concerned by a recent trend in book publishing. The sales of genre books—lowbrow fare, such as romance novels, that critics contend have little literary value—have increased dramatically over the last five years. In fact, an analysis of the books stocked in bookstores shows that the ratio of titles in the classic literature category—which includes books with high literary value by such authors as Dickens, Dostoyevsky, and Faulkner—to titles in the genre category has decreased over the same period. In addition, average sales per title in the genre category have increased greatly over the last five years. Critics fear that if current trends continue, genre books will dominate the market for fiction books, signaling a lamentable decrease in the quality of literature to which the average reader is exposed.
Which of the following pieces of information would be most useful in evaluating the validity of the critics claim about genre books potential domination of the market for fiction books?
A. the likelihood that current trends in the sales of books in the genre and classic literature categories continue
B. the amounts of sales, in dollars, for books in the genre and classic literature categories over the last five years
C. a comparison of sales revenues for nonfiction books and genre books over the last five years
D. sales revenues over the last five years both for genre books and for fiction books other than those in the genre or classic literature categories
E. a numerical estimate of the literary value contained in each of several representative titles of the genre book category