Saturday, July 21, 2007

Is this Really Indefensible?

Michael Giltz: Why Harry Potter Won't be a Bestseller - Entertainment on The Huffington Post: "Wanna make some easy money? Tell your friends you don't think Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will debut at #1 on The New York Times Bestseller List. Heck, you don't think it will even make the Top Ten! Then give them ten to one odds.

Huh? The book that will probably set a single day and one week sales record, the book hundreds of thousands will line up for at midnight won't be the Number One book on The New York Times Bestseller list? That's right because Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a children's book and those books don't count.

It happened in 2000. The Harry Potter books -- a once in a lifetime publishing phenomenon -- were dominating the bestseller lists, with three titles ensconced in the Top 15 at the same time. It just wasn't fair, moaned publishers of more 'serious' fiction. It kept more deserving titles off the list, titles that people would never hear about, said bookstore owners. And so in a rash, indefensible decision, the New York Times decided to banish children's books solely to their own separate list."

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

I've found the rejiggering of such lists so as to feature books that don't sell as well as books that are ignored (or their figures suppressed) to be an odd bit of corruption...I suppose it's a nice tool to aid those books which are themselves overhyped at the expense of books that could Actually use some exposure (names of writers and books too easily rattled off), but it's a slightly raw deal, occasionally for children's book writers and frequently for romance-fiction writers, who are writing books which actually outsell "the bestsellers" of any given date...and for those odd folk who only want to read what's most popular...but also for any scholars of the present or future who might actually want to know what was actually selling best at any given time.