Behind the New York Times Best-Seller (‘Not Best-Reviewed’) Lists
In an effort to shed more light on how we work, The Times is running a series of short posts explaining some of our journalistic practices.
Here, the New York Times best-seller lists staff answers frequently asked questions about how the lists are put together, and how they’re scrutinized for accuracy and impartiality.
How many best-seller lists does The New York Times have?
We currently have 11 weekly lists and five monthly lists. This includes our new monthly audiobook fiction and audiobook nonfiction lists. The number of lists, as well as the number of books on those lists and the kinds of books tracked, has changed over the years to help reflect trends in the bookselling industry and to best inform our readers about what is being read now.
How to make the most of a writing conference
Let’s face it. Writing can be a solitary endeavor. Don’t go it alone. Why not attend a writing conference and meet your tribe? Writing conferences are great value for the money. You’ll find loads of workshops, access to agents and editors, swarms of writers of various levels, all packaged neatly into a three- or four-day event. Nice.
Benefits of attending a writers conference
Is the publishing boom ‘a sign of cultural vitality’?
A few years ago, it seemed that the favourite conversation topic of the literary world was the decline of the printed book. There was no shortage of those who were willing to proclaim the death of the book, insisting that the prevalence of online information and transference of texts to an online format would render the format obsolete. Sociologist Frank Furedi wrote about the ‘Gutenburg parenthesis’ in his 2015 book Power of Reading – the concept that ‘books’, as a literary form, had a limited lifespan, and that the rise of the internet is driving us back to an oral culture. With the increasing ease of the ability to promote one’s own views online, it would seem that books had had their day.
Nonetheless, according to statistics released by the Publishers Association, books sales actually rose the year Furedi suggested that the printed book was declining. Moreover, the number of digital copies sold decreased for the first time in history. The self-publishing industry has also boomed over the past few years. The bibliographic information company Bowker has stated that ISBN registrations leapt with a 21% increase from 2014 to 2015, and publishing continues to be a fast-growing industry. The fastest grower in the publishing field is audiobooks, and the industry has been valued at around $2.8bn in 2015. To most readers, this huge increase in the production of literary material should be a cause for celebration – if we are publishing more books, surely we are publishing a wider variety of books for readers to enjoy. The ability of writers to self-publish should, in theory, mean that readers should be exposed to a wider range of books than ever before.
Read the rest of this story HERE.
Turning a new page: How tech is changing the world of book marketing
One might think that with the rise of smartphones, the growing popularity of on-demand entertainment from the likes of Netflix, and headlines about Amazon eating the lunch of the high street bookshop, the UK book publishing industry might be in trouble.
In fact, the most recent figures from the Publisher Association show that the sector enjoyed a record-breaking year – sales grew seven per cent in 2016 to £4.8bn, their highest level.
Sales of physical books still outweigh digital sales (£3bn versus £1.7bn), although the transformative effect of the ebook market, especially in terms of helping unknown authors self-publish and grow an audience, is well-noted.
Publishers embrace, and ponder, audiobooks’ rise
As the audiobook market continues to boom, publishers find themselves both grateful and concerned.
The industry gathered over the past week for BookExpo and the fan-based BookCon, which ended Sunday at the Jacob Javits center in Manhattan. The consensus, as it has been for the past few years, is of a stable overall market: physical books rising, e-book sales soft and audio, led by downloaded works, expanding by double digits.
“We’ve had really significant growth,” Michael Pietsch, CEO of Hachette Book Group, told The Associated Press. “It’s offsetting the e-book decline.”
Authors and publishers alike celebrate the format’s appeal and creativity. The standard approach of a single narrator has given way to productions of remarkable ambition. More than 100 voices were used for George Saunders’ historical reverie “Lincoln in the Bardo,” winner of the Audio Publishers Association’s “Audie” for the year’s best recording, a prize handed out during BookExpo.
Read the rest of this story HERE.