A little less lonely at the top: NYT splits their bestseller list

In case you don't obsessively look at the NYT bestseller lists every Sunday like a certain fire-in-the-sugar-free-latte-filled-belly writer who shall remain nameless, they finally clapped on to the fact that it makes no sense to quantify Anita Shreve alongside Harry Potter. According to the "Up Front" column:
It gives more emphasis to the literary novels and short-story collections reviewed so often in our pages (and sometimes published only in softcover). Mass-market paperback titles are now covered in a separate list. In addition, we present expanded coverage of paperback non fiction and of advice, how-to and miscellaneous books, as the increased number of titles this week makes clear.
Josh Getlin commented on the split in an LA Times article:
It has been criticized for being ingrown and unscientific, a weekly work of fiction that -- for all its seeming authoritativeness -- is shrouded in mystery. So when the New York Times Book Review announced it would begin splitting its paperback bestseller list into two lists, one reserved for quality paperback fiction, a chorus of voices in publishing began parsing What It All Meant... While all of these lists might be confusing, writers clearly benefit. The bottom line for many in publishing is that "eyeballs on the news page are an extremely important thing, they're crucial to book selling," said Sandra Djikstra, a literary agent based in Southern California... "Creating a new weekly list for paperback fiction is a plus for everybody who cares about the future of good writing."
From her lips to God's ear.

PS ~ The "My Dolly Book" picture really has nothing to do with any of this. I just thought it was trippy.


I'm happy about any list that gives mass market paperbacks their own spot. For a lot of years, the NYT listmakers have been accused of being very selective about what type of books get the kiss of bestsellerdom. The suspicion has been that many a romance has not been tracked for such an honor. (The USA Today list is supposed to be a fairer measure.) A glance through the new mass market list at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/30/books/bestseller/0930bestpapermassfiction.html?_r=1&oref=slogin shows plenty of romance and romantic suspense novels, to which I say, "Woo, hoo. More chances for me!" It just doesn't make sense to compare apples and oranges.

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