This kind of feedback is particularly welcome because authors of scholarship usually get only anecdotal evidence of what people thought of their work (people telling you in person or by email that they liked/disliked it). The usual way to know if a piece went over well or not is in the short term seeing whether anyone comments on it (for example, what kind of comments it gets from members of the audience if its been delivered at a conf, like Kalamazoo or MythCon. In the long term, it's whether it gets cited by subsequent authors working along the same lines -- for example, my piece on Tolkien and women seems to be getting cited a fair amount, which is gratifying; by contrast, there's v. little feedback on book reviews unless the reviewee takes offense (as has occasionally been the case).
Looking at the information provided to me by the Valpo folks who maintain the JTR site, it's been downloaded by fifteen institutions. Some of these might have been expected -- for example, that Valparaiso and Wheaton College are on the list, given their deep interest in JTR and all things related to the Wade Center's Seven Authors, respectively. MIT and Apple Inc. are a bit further afield, though the roots of Tolkien fandom lie deep in smart-computer-people culture. I admit that Johannes Gutenberg-Universitaet Mainz took me by surprised, but then I'm not v. plugged into the diverse and vibrant Tolkien field in Europe (aside from the UK, of course). And who wd have thought there were Tolkien fans among the USAISC (US Army Information Systems Command)?
More interesting than the institutions are the individuals (as individuals are usually more interesting than institutions). Apparently 68 downloads have been in the US (a little over one-third of the total). Not surprising the UK is next, with 31, but I was surprised that third place (17) went to Portugal, rather than France (11) or Germany (8) or Canada (6). The Netherlands and Poland tied for seventh place (5 each), followed by Denmark (4), After this we have a smattering of downloads from all over: 2 each for Austria, Switzerland, Iran, Italy, Japan, and Norway, and a single download each from Australia, Finland, Israel, India, Lithania, Luxembourg, Malta, Nepal (that's the one in Kathmandu), Pakistan, Romania, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and Taiwan. There's a similar break-down for the US, but I won't go into that, other than to note my bemusement that the most recent US download seems to have been in Redmond, Washington, which is here in the greater Seattle area only about a half hour's drive from here (depending on traffic: it's a north-east suburb while Kent is a south-central one).
So, in a few cases I think I know who a particular reader might be, but for the most part this information shows me how much of a writer's audience might differ beyond what he or she imagines, and in a really interesting way. Even though I'm a late adaptor,** this is a bit of technology I can really appreciate.
just finished: RAISING STEAM (another late DiscWorld novel; disappointing but readable) and a short antiquarian piece by Major Hayman Rooke from 1777. resumed: LONDON FOG and the 1932 Wheeler & Wheeler report re. excavations nr Gloucestershire.