The New York Times has eliminated a number of bestsellers lists, although the exact number could not be confirmed Thursday morning. Cutting the various lists is part of an overall plan by the paper to revamp its coverage of publishing.
A note sent on Wednesday to subscribers to the advance bestsellers lists said, “Beginning with the Advance BSL edition that will be delivered today for Feb. 5, 2017, there will be revisions to multiple categories in the publication. These changes will span weekly and monthly lists.”
In a long statement from the NYT, the company explained the changes this way:
"Beginning February 5, the New York Times will eliminate a number of print but mostly online-only bestseller lists.
In recent years, we introduced a number of new lists as an experiment, many of which are being discontinued. We will continue to cover all of these genres of books in our news coverage (in print and online). The change allows us to devote more space and resources to our coverage beyond the bestseller lists.
Our major lists will remain, including: Top 15 Hardcover Fiction, Top 15 Hardcover Nonfiction, Top 15 Combined Print and E Fiction, Top 15 Combined Print and E Nonfiction, Top 10 Children's Hardcover Picture Books, Top 10 Children's Middle Grade Hardcover Chapter Books, Top 10 Children's Young Adult Hardcover Chapter Books, and Top 10 Children's Series. Several more including Paperback Trade Fiction, Paperback Nonfiction, Business, Sports, Science, and Advice Miscellaneous will remain online. Readers will be notified that individual lists will no longer be compiled and updated by the New York Times on the relevant article pages."
Among the lists that appear to have disappeared are the graphic novel/manga and the mass market paperback lists as well as the middle grade e-book and young adult e-book lists.
The decision to discontinue the graphic novels and manga lists has spurred discussion and concern on the comics community on social media. Charles Kochman, editorial director of Abrams ComicArts, Abrams' graphic novel imprint, said comics publishers were concerned: “How can we, as publishers of comics and graphic novels, communicate the success of a book, both in-house and in the marketplace?”
Kochman said he has reached out to other publishers, among them W.W. Norton, Scholastic, First Second, Fantagraphics and Oni Press, in a possible effort to approach the New York Times about reconsidering its decision. “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,” Kochman said.
“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,” Kochman added.