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Ebooks Finally Included On the NYT BestSeller List

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the say-hank-have-you-see-the-intern's-kindle? dept.

Books 32

destinyland writes "The New York Times' site just published their first best-seller list which includes ebooks. 'To give the fullest and most accurate possible snapshot of what books are being read at a given moment you have to include as many different formats as possible,' a book editor explained in November, 'and e-books have really grown, there's no question about it.' Interestingly, the rankings of the top 7 best-selling ebooks are unchanged if you also include their print sales."

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32 comments

A little behind the times (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35182184)

Billboard started including E-music sales and youtube listens in the early 2000s. Nielsen started including online TV views as part of their 7-day viewing stats in 2007. I guess New York Times is just more conservative and slower to change?

Re:A little behind the times (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35184204)

Billboard started including E-music sales and youtube listens in the early 2000s. Nielsen started including online TV views as part of their 7-day viewing stats in 2007. I guess New York Times is just more conservative and slower to change?

I don't think they saw it in their interest to change. How much advertising were companies like Amazon buying in the NYT? When you have a company that has been trying to continue monetizing it's old dead trees and oil product you really can't expect them to send people to the internet... for anything. I have not picked one up for many years, but I have to think the best sellers list has book store or book ads in the same area of the paper. It would be interesting to see if they now have ads for e-book sites (non bricks & mortar operations). It could be they finally found a way to pull in a few more ad bucks by shilling for digital products.

Interesting?? (3, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35182202)

Interestingly, the rankings of the top 7 best-selling ebooks are unchanged if you also include their print sales.

So people who use ebooks are normal people just like you and me. Who'd have thunk?

Re:Interesting?? (4, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | more than 3 years ago | (#35182296)

So people who use ebooks are normal people just like you and me. Who'd have thunk?

Not at all. Normal people don't read. If you read dead-tree books or ebooks, you are ipso facto not normal.

Similarly if you read and respond to /. articles. However, if you reply without reading them, you just might be normal.

Re:Interesting?? (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191626)

If you sit on your couch, drinking beer and belching the "William Tell Overture", you might be normal

Re:Interesting?? (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35182418)

One of the issues with the best sellers lists is that it's subject to manipulation, nobody really knows how many copies of a given book are out there at any given times. Ebooks for the portion they make up, should be a lot more accurate in that respect.

Re:Interesting?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35182788)

I can't believe that Mubarak stepped down, either!

Re:Interesting?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35182870)

And I have it on good authority, that The New York Times will not include self-published books, even though there are some making record sales figures.

Re:Interesting?? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35183084)

Hmmm, that's going to be harder for them to maintain, since both Barnes and Noble [barnesandnoble.com] and Amazon [amazon.com] have self publishing portals, (follow the links for how those work) and they account for a huge percentage of sales of both Print and ebooks in the US.

Sooner or later someone is bound to release something via those electronic self publish routes which rockets to the top of sales. Will they just pretend it didn't happen?

Or is it that ebook sales WITHOUT dead tree books would never amount to a best seller?
(TFA wanders around that particular point, as without numbers, it is impossible to tell whether ebooks simply follow print books in popularity.).

As good authors (Like Steven King [thenextweb.com] ) start releasing in ebook format first, using free-lance editor services, the print houses might not have their lock on the attention of the NYT.

Steven Kink kind of popularity will be hard to ignore even if it were self published.

Not a Chance (2)

Alaren (682568) | more than 3 years ago | (#35182898)

The vagaries inherent in selecting best-sellers do not really stem from problems of accuracy.

At present, there are only two entities that track overall sales of a book: the publisher, which tracks books shipped and/or returned, and Bookscan, which kind of sort of tracks books sold at the register.

The publisher's numbers are as accurate as reasonably possible for the very simple reason that they have to pay the author based on this number and are subject to audits at the author's request. However this does not track copies sold to readers--just to the indies, the chains, and other retailers. This number is occasionally made available to industry press (for example, Publisher's Weekly).

Bookscan numbers track copies sold to readers, however depending on the genre Bookscan may report 90% of sales or it may catch 50% of sales, because not all booksellers report to Bookscan. Bookscan subscriptions are not cheap to get (publishers and some agents are their primary customers) but Amazon recently made authors' personal numbers available via author accounts.

The best-seller lists rely on a combination of publisher input, Bookscan numbers, non-bookscan numbers, and their own statistical projections. My wife, a New York Times bestselling children's author, has spent some time examining the lists and the numbers with some of her author friends. Most of the time, Bookscan numbers line up more or less with the rankings on the list, particularly at the top. But (especially toward the bottom half of the list) there are recurring and sometimes wild variations. And some books are not "listed" because the publisher apparently does not submit them for consideration in a given week; Lois Lowry's "The Giver," for example, puts up strong enough numbers every single week that it would likely bounce on and off the Children's Hardcover list several times each year. Because the list is a powerful marketing tool, however, and "The Giver" presumably is in no need of marketing, this does not occur. Furthermore, the NYT has shown that it frowns on books clogging the list for too long (the Children's lists were made in direct response to Harry Potter's dominance, for example).

With specific regard to e-books, we're a little baffled as to why the NYT would create an eBook list and a "combined" list at once. I don't know if eBook sales previously counted at all toward a book's listing status; I do think they should! I can see why a separate eBook list might be of interest but I'm not sure THREE lists is warranted. As a general rule, expect to see the top slots of all three lists basically repeat themselves. But don't expect "improved accuracy." While accuracy is definitely among the lists' aspirations, the ability to track eBook sales only slightly improves the information already available to the Times.

Re:Not a Chance (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35184128)

With specific regard to e-books, we're a little baffled as to why the NYT would create an eBook list and a "combined" list at once.

Ask your wife (or her agent) about the release dates for new books in print vs e-format.
The releases are usually staggered so that e-books don't cannibalize the sales of the hardback.

When you look at it in that light, it's easy to see that what's popular in print and online are not always going to be 100% the same.

Re:Interesting?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35194220)

Some people don't read books unless they appear on the best-seller list. Manipulation BIG TIME.

Books Read? (5, Insightful)

ko7 (1990064) | more than 3 years ago | (#35182302)

'To give the fullest and most accurate possible snapshot of what books are being read at a given moment you have to include as many different formats as possible,'

Methinks included also should be books being read without being 'sold', if the aim is indeed to reflect 'books read', and not 'books sold'.

Re:Books Read? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35185726)

Agreed. I've had a quiet year and I've read about $1500 worth of books. I've spent $0. Thank you Mr Carnegie.

Harry Potter... (3, Interesting)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#35182304)

Isn't the NY Times Best Seller list also the one who changed its definitions because the Harry Potter books kept dominating it? I could've sworn that at one point books 1 through 5 were all on there and they decided that childrens books were no longer welcome.

Re:Harry Potter... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35182328)

Yep, here it is:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F01E0DD1730F937A15755C0A9669C8B63

Re:Harry Potter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35185862)

Well, the Bible has been excluded from the list for even longer: otherwise it would top the best seller list permanently!

Wouldn't it make more sense? (3, Informative)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35182488)

Wouldn't it make more sense to only use the combined figures? If the goal of the best seller list is to show what people are purchasing (buying a book doesn't mean it's actually being read), then why still have separate print and non-print lists?

Re:Wouldn't it make more sense? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35182808)

Wouldn't it make more sense to only use the combined figures? If the goal of the best seller list is to show what people are purchasing (buying a book doesn't mean it's actually being read), then why still have separate print and non-print lists?

When a new book is released, there is usually a delay of anywhere from weeks to months before the e-book is offered for sale.

It makes sense to have separate listings for hard/softback and e-books because they don't always hit the market at the same time.

Re:Wouldn't it make more sense? (1)

jason18 (1973154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35183626)

Ebooks are popular enough now that dividing the charts would be like having separate hardcover and paperback lists. I'd actually be curious to see what the stats are for the out-of-copyright books, since anyone can download them for free.

Re:Wouldn't it make more sense? (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35183738)

They do have seperate lists for hardback and paperback.

Re:Wouldn't it make more sense? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35185292)

True, but that is because not all paperback books are available in hardback and vice-versa.

You could always get my book on the list.... (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 3 years ago | (#35182576)

...if you want [paullee.com] *grin*

Stieg Larsson is sadly missed, but... (1)

WidgetGuy (1233314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35182618)

From TFA:

#2 THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, by Stieg Larsson
#3 THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, by Stieg Larsson
#4 THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST, by Stieg Larsson

You can see all three movies (Swedish w/English subtitles) on Netflix Watch Instantly (streaming). Get a one month Netflix subscription ($8 -- streaming only, no DVDs) and watch all three movies. The books are terrific and the movies are also very well done. For the best movie experience, I suggest you read the book then watch the corresponding movie. Barnes and Noble was selling the Nook e-book versions for around $5 each. Read/watch them in the order shown above (as the titles indicate, it's a trilogy). Noomi Rapace plays Lisbeth Salander (the female protagonist in the trilogy). This woman is a (male or female) geek's wet dream (her character in the movie is bi-sexual) and one damn good actress to boot. Highly recommended way to escape the "winter blahs" for a few days.

Re:Stieg Larsson is sadly missed, but... (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35182742)

I'm really surprised that those books are still dominating the list. Don't get me wrong, I read them all (on the Kindle - for the sake of relevance to TFA), and absolutely loved every word, and would recommend them to anyone. But they've been out for years. It's amazing that they're still on top of a weekly best-seller list.

Re:Stieg Larsson is sadly missed, but... (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35182806)

Odd, I found them pretty seriously overrated. Maybe it's just the English translations, but I thought the language wavered between dull and corny throughout. The plots and characters seemed fairly run-of-the-mill, at least as far as this genre of thrillers goes (which, admittedly, is not really my usual cuppa). I chalk up their popularity to the same reasons Dan Brown is popular -- he's accessible and he can put together a twisty plot. (And no offense, but the fact that you see the books on the bestseller lists and jump back to /. to recommend the movies only reinforces this opinion.) I also found Larsson's musings on Swedish politics to be a little impenetrable at times, and thus tedious (though I realize social commentary was a large part of why he wrote in the first place).

Re:Stieg Larsson is sadly missed, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35184874)

Maybe it's just the English translations

I've read the english translations. They are horrible and in several instances plain wrong. Sure, a level of artistic freedom and creativity is required to properly translate a work of art, but this chap obviously doesn't know enough about swedish culture to grasp what the text actually meant...

Why wouldn't you? (1)

anethema (99553) | more than 3 years ago | (#35182960)

Not sure why exactly you would NOT include ebooks in best seller lists. They are books that are sold, money has been made, and the books have (in theory) been read.

I suppose you could make a separate list, but it sure seems like books are being sold, in one format or the other, those sales should be included in the counts for books sold.

Look at Music iTunes is far and away the largest retailer of music in terms of amount of music sold. I wouldn't say the iTunes bestselling list is worthless that's for sure.
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