Times Will Rank E-Book Best Sellers
By JULIE BOSMAN
In an acknowledgment of the growing sales and influence of digital publishing, The New York Times said on Wednesday that it would publish e-book best-seller lists in fiction and nonfiction beginning early next year.
The lists will be compiled from weekly data from publishers, chain bookstores, independent booksellers and online retailers, among other sources.
Since 1935 The Times has published best-seller lists, widely considered the industry standard. Best-seller lists are also published by Publishers Weekly, a trade publication, and newspapers including The Los Angeles Times and USA Today.
Janet Elder, the editor of news surveys and election analysis for The Times, said the newspaper had spent two years creating a system that tracks and verifies e-book sales.
“We’ve had our eye on e-book sales since e-books began,” Ms. Elder said. “It was clear that e-books were taking a greater and greater share of total sales, and we wanted to be able to tell our readers which titles were selling and how they fit together with print sales.”
E-book sales have risen steeply in 2010, spurred by the growing popularity of the Amazon Kindle and by the release of the Apple iPad in April. According to the Association of American Publishers, which receives sales data from publishers, e-book sales in the first nine months of 2010 were $304.6 million, up from $105.6 million from the same period in 2009, a nearly 190 percent increase.
Several major publishers said that e-books had climbed to about 10 percent of their total trade sales. Some publishing experts have predicted that they will rise to 25 percent in the next two to three years.
RoyaltyShare, a San Diego-based company that tracks data and aggregates sales information for publishers, will work with The Times, provide data and offer an additional source of independent corroboration.
The Times will also redesign the section of its Sunday Book Review that features the best-seller lists. The Times already publishes 14 lists, including those for fiction, nonfiction and advice books in hardcover and paperback, as well as children’s books and graphic books.
“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, and e-books have really grown, there’s no question about it,” said Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the Book Review. The new listings, he added, give readers “the fullest picture we can give them about how a book is doing week to week.”