In a joint project, three Web sites which have promoted African-American literature for more than a decade—AALBC.com, Cushcity.com, and Mosaicbooks.com—have launched the Power List, a national bestseller list focused on books read by African-Americans. The stated mission of the Power List is “to promote African-American literature; to assess the reading habits of African Americans; and to report those findings to the public.”
For now, the list will be released quarterly, on the fourth Monday in the month following each calendar quarter. The spring 2013 list categories are hardcover fiction, hardcover nonfiction, paperback fiction and paperback nonfiction. Bestselling e-books and classics will be added in future editions.
The Spring 2013 Power List: Paperback Fiction: #1. Friends & Foes by ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher (Gallery Books). Paperback Nonfiction: #1. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey (Amistad). Hardcover Fiction: #1 The Man in 3B by Carl Weber (Grand Central Publishing). Hardcover Nonfiction: #1 Manology: Secrets of Your Man’s Mind Revealed by Tyrese Gibson and Rev. Run (Touchstone).
The complete spring 2013 lists can be viewed at the Power List site, www.powerlist.info, with a link for anyone wishing to publish the list. The next list will come out on the fourth Monday in July, and notifications will go out via social media as well as e-mail, to the trio’s media lists of libraries, bookstores, book clubs, authors, and reviewers.
According to Cushcity.com founder Gwen Richardson, the lists are compiled from survey responses from her company’s proprietary list of 1,200 African American book clubs; online booksellers; and related Facebook pages such as Cushcity.com and the National Black Book Festival, of which Richardson is national coordinator. Some of the book clubs are new; others have been around for as long as 20 years. “And they do respond; they like being part of the survey," she said.
The list is quarterly because “the results don’t change much from month to month,” explained Richardson, citing the former Essence bestseller list and the Black Expressions bestseller list as examples. “As a bookseller, I participated in the Essence list for five years. Even then, it was more narrow because they had 20 to 25 black bookstores they would survey monthly. [Eventually], so much of the book buying had gone online that the bookstore survey method was not fully reflective. Because our survey includes the book clubs, it really gives a good picture, and the random sampling on Facebook helps.”
“African-American book clubs are well-established in urban communities across America,” said AALBC.com founder Troy Johnson. “The survey results tell us not only which black authors are gaining traction among black readers, but they also let us know which non-black authors have garnered their attention.”
“Ron and Troy and I have lists,” Richardson said. “Between the three of us, we reach a lot of folks!”