What was the point of the NY Times cutting 10 categories from its Best Seller’s list? Would it possibly make sales more difficult for smaller publishers and new authors?
It began February 5th, 2017 when the New York Times cut the following category/ genre lists: Manga, paperback and hardcover graphic novels, Children’s middle grade paperbacks and e-books, Young Adult paperbacks and e-books, e-book fiction and nonfiction, and paperback mass market fiction.
Felix Torres comments, “By cutting the number of slots, they reduce the number of featured titles which adds (artificial) scarcity value to the slots. If there are less [sic] titles that can claim being an NY Times bestseller, getting on the list becomes more of a bragging point.”
However, Kevin Kochman, editorial director of Abrams ComicArts, says that comics publishers are concerned. “If we have to compete against the sales numbers of fiction and nonfiction, it’s only going to be the outlier titles that will hit the list. We can’t compete with the numbers of, say, the self-help category or mass market airport fiction. Comics need to be measured against themselves, not the larger whole of books. Going forward, this decision is going to have a significant effect on how a graphic novel is considered a success.”
That seems to be the general consensus. Each side has its followers. Some claiming that the exclusivity of the fourteen remaining categories will be beneficial. The NY Times itself defends its decision by stating, “the change allows us to devote more space and resources to our coverage beyond the bestseller lists.” New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul also commented via three tweets that “The Times is not cutting back on coverage of these genres/formats but rather expanding on coverage in ways that reach more readers than the lists did. To wit: new graphic reviews by comic artists, more reviews and more news and features about then [sic] genre and it’s [sic] creators. We are big fans, and want to recognize growing readership. Stay tuned.”
Either way, the literary world is in turmoil. What is your opinion and where would you fall in this year’s list of NY Times Best Sellers?