The New York Times is set to substantially overhaul its prestigious best sellers lists as of February 5; as part of this reorganization, it is dropping its sub-lists of hardcover graphic books, paperback graphic books, and Manga.
The upcoming change, which does not appear to have been announced ahead of time, was first highlighted by literary agent Charlie Olsen. He noticed the absence the graphic books sections from his advance email subscription version of the NY Times Best Sellers List due for publication on February 5 2017.
Graphic novels can no longer be @nytimes bestsellers as of February 5th. No explanation for change, I think we deserve one. Please RT!
— Charlie Olsen (@ComicsisPeople) January 25, 2017
The news was later confirmed by Publishers Weekly, which shared the following statement from the Times:
“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.”
Upon requesting further clarification as to why the lists were being dropped, CBR was informed by Danielle Rhodes Ha, VP, Communications at The New York Times Company, that “the discontinued lists did not reach or resonate with many readers.”
The news appears to have come as a surprise, and ha become a cause of considerable consternation to a number of authors and publishers including best-selling author and comics writer Brad Meltzer.
— Brad Meltzer (@bradmeltzer) January 26, 2017
Cartoonist Lucas Turnbloom took to Twitter to encourage pros and fans alike to contact the Times directly in an effort to prove that the discontinued lists are of interest to readers, and important to creators.
The @nytimesbooks DROPPED graphic novels from best sellers list. Want the category re-opened? 1-212-556-1200 or firstname.lastname@example.org RT
— Lucas Turnbloom (@LucasTurnbloom) January 26, 2017
Whether or not these industry concerns will prompt the Times to reconsider, or prompt another organization to enter the breach to assemble it’s own best sellers list, remains an open question at this time.