updated 11:20 am EST, Thu November 11, 2010
NYT to have bestsellers just for digital books
The New York Times today planned to run a bestseller list just for e-books. The list will be separate from the paper list but will appear in the Book Review both online and in print versions of the newspaper. An independent tracker, RoyaltyShare, will monitor sales from a collection of digital bookstores and will help validate the data to ensure that it's accurate, an issue which the Times said was currently a problem in the e-book field.
"[There is] a need for an impartial, reliable source for tracking and reporting the top-selling eBooks across the country," News Surveys editor Janet Elder said.
Which platforms would be included hadn't been named, but the top platforms are likely to be among the first. Amazon's Kindle is currently leading and is the most probable candidate but could be accompanied by Barnes & Noble's Nook shop, Kobo and Apple's iBookstore. Not every company readily provides numbers, but dedicated companies have usually had ways to track sales through indirect means.
A unified e-book list could alter the makeup of bestseller rankings. Amazon has often prided itself on having most or all of the NYT bestseller list available online, but its results haven't necessarily reflected the actual popularity of downloads. Apple hasn't provided a recent update on sales of books for the iPad and iPhone but has been hurt by the relatively small catalog. Digital lists could better reflect the contribution of a smaller store like Apple's to total popularity rather than just how the leading store or print editions might rank sales.
The lists will take effect in early 2011.