NY Times to publish e-book best-seller lists

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The Independent Culture

The New York Times announced Thursday that starting early next year it will begin publishing best-seller lists of fiction and non-fiction electronic books.

The newspaper, which has been publishing a list of best-selling print books since 1935, said the e-book lists will be compiled from weekly data from publishers, chain bookstores, independent booksellers and online retailers.

The move by the Times is a recognition of the growing popularity of digital books available through such devices as Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPad.

"The vibrant growth of digital publishing has created a need for an impartial, reliable source for tracking and reporting the top-selling e-books across the country," said Janet Elder, editor of News Surveys for the Times.

"The Times is a trusted brand within the book publishing industry and with consumers," she said in a statement. "As with all The Times's rankings, these additional lists will benefit from corroborative sourcing and we will watch for trends in the industry."

Elder, in an interview with the Times, said "we've had our eye on e-book sales since e-books began.

"It was clear that e-books were taking a greater and greater share of total sales, and we wanted to be able to tell our readers which titles were selling and how they fit together with print sales," she said.

The Times said an independent third party, RoyaltyShare Inc., will be used to help validate e-book sales data.

In a report released this week, Forrester Research Inc. said sales of e-books are expected to hit nearly one billion dollars in the United States this year and to triple by 2015.

Amazon said last month that its customers are buying Kindle digital versions of the top 10 best-selling books more than twice as often as print copies.

"For the top 10 best-selling books on Amazon.com, customers are choosing Kindle books over hardcover and paperback books combined at a rate of greater than two to one," said Steve Kessel, senior vice president of Amazon Kindle.

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