by Kim Callan
As of February 5, the New York Times Bestseller List will be getting a little smaller. Major categories – such as Hardcover Nonfiction, Young Adult Hardcover, Children’s Hardcover and Combined Print and E Fiction – will remain on the list. However, categories like Graphic Novels/Manga and Young Adult eBooks will be removed.
This is causing some complaints on social media. Comic artists and Graphic Novel authors are upset at the lack of coverage. The New York Times is the place you want to see your work as an author. A lot of potential readers use the New York Times Bestseller list to decide which books they would be interested in purchasing. By cutting off these categories, the New York Times limits the exposure that these works can get and that can be a huge impact on someone’s career.
I can understand the removal of eBooks as they are keeping the hardcovers. Many Young Adult books that come out in hardcover have eBook as well and, as such, can sometimes end up on the list twice. However, there are some Young Adult books that are only released as eBooks, possibly because of the agreement with the publisher. With this list removed, these books would have no place to be shown off. Other books still have the chance to end up on the Combined Print and E Fiction lists but strictly E Fiction would be left out.
For graphic novels/comics/manga, I worry as well. The decision does make sense – the Times likely wants to focus their lists a bit more – and yet I feel for the artists and authors who may have extremely benefitted from these categories. Graphic Novels especially have always had a hard time selling. For example, when Art Spiegelman’s Maus came out it was first graphic novels to actually catch eyes. Before that, there had been graphic novels on the shelves but people tend to pass them over. Perhaps the adult mind equates graphic novels with children’s picture books. There is a feeling of not wanting to “read down” or waste time on such a book when you could be reading literature. In recent times, people have become more open to comics and their like. In Barnes and Noble, for example, the comics/graphic novels/manga sections have been steadily growing. Despite this, it’s still not quite as big of a market as for fiction. The New York Times provides a way for people who do not usually look at graphic novels to see them.
The New York Times Bestseller List carries so much weight behind it. To be on their lists sometimes feels like the way to make or break someone’s career. To see categories removed from the list is understandable and yet it’s saddening to think of who’s works may not be seen because they are no longer on the list. Time will tell if this proves detrimental to careers or is simply a bump in the road.