That's great, New York Times, but 'Graphic Books'? Really?

The surprise debut yesterday of The New York Times' Graphic Books Best Seller lists seems to have triggered three primary reactions: "Yay," "What the hell is The Courtyard?" and "Graphic Books?"

Yes, graphic books. Stop laughing.

To get to the bottom of the awkward-name mystery, ICv2.com turns to Best Seller List Editor Deborah Hofmann.

“We felt that Books made it clear to readers that our intent is to be inclusive and expansive," she tells the retail-focused news and analysis site. "... We also like the fact that the word Books sets us a bit apart from what might be expected by simply calling them Graphic Novels. The genre has grown even beyond novels. And novel perhaps implies a 'novelty,' when we might indeed be seeing the evolution of something with a far longer arc, past, present and future. They are an established form, not a novelty likely to recede as a fad. One has only to look at the aisles of any bookstore to monitor their growth."

But the lists' name wasn't the only surprise: The hardcover list is bookended by DC Comics' Starman Omnibus, Vol. 2, at No. 1 and IDW Publishing's Complete Terry and the Pirates, Vol. 6, at No. 10. Although the hardcover chart shows some genre diversity -- superheroes, horror, fantasy, classic adventure -- the softcover list is entirely superheroes, led by Watchmen.

And while it isn't at all shocking to see eight volumes of Naruto on the manga list, MPD-Psycho and Eden certainly aren't the titles most would expect to fill the two remaining spots.

The Times lists are compiled using an arcane formula that includes sales data from hundreds of retail outlets, including independent booksellers, book chains, online stores and direct-market shops. So I imagine we'll continue to be surprised by what titles are, and are not, on the lists.

Related: Brigid Alverson delves deeper into the manga list.

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