Harry Potter not a best-seller?

HP and the Deathly Hallows is #1 on amazon.com, and there was a certain frenzy in the marketing and purchase of it. But I have yet to see it appear on the NYTimes best-seller list.

Granted, that best-seller lists and what goes into them are kind of elusive, it’s still hard to see how this one missed out. Half the people at the pool are reading it. Did it hit the list earlier on account of pre-sales?

What gives?

Several books ago the NYT decided that the HP books would not appear on the bestseller list because they were “children’s books” and shouldn’t compete with serious works of literature. I believe that, at the time, there were several of them taking up space on the top ten and the ‘taking themselves a little too seriously’ crowd protested.

It’s on there but it’s under “Childrens Books” under “Series Books” which I don’t quite agree with but the NYT is kinda weird about these things.

Here’s a link to a 2000 CNN story about the controversy.

For all of me their decision is technically called ‘punk ass cheap’ or somesuch.

The earlier Harry Potter books were so popular that the New York Times made an independent children’s book list. The series itself has been number one in that category for nearly three years straight.

Lots of adults read Potter, and contribute greatly to his sales. Someday I’ll probably be one of them.

Considering the absolute shite that makes the bestseller lists, pulling Potter from them is insane. Harry Potter improves the quality of the NYT list.

I can understand why the NYT could be considered chickenshit for doing what they did, but Harry Potter books are supposed to be for young readers, I’m pretty sure, and all this grousing sounds like you folks are just being defensive about reading kids’ books.

I haven’t read the Potter books, but I’ve read His Dark Materials and Carroll’s Alice books, and I’d never be defensive about either of those.

I’d be much more embarrassed over reading The Davinci Code or anything by James Patterson than I would over Potter.

Well, you have a point there…I don’t begrudge anyone reading HP, but I just got a slight whiff of defensiveness in the air, possibly mistakenly.

This kind of reminds me (in reverse, maybe) of when the Billboard charts changed how they were comprised, and suddenly all this schlocky Country and Rap were occupying the Top Ten…

That’s pretty cheesy. I remember now the whole thing about creating a separate list for children’s books, but lumping it in with the likes of Junie B. Jones? (Not that there’s anything wrong with Junie B. Jones, but…)

I just looked at the list, and I disagree that Harry Potter improves the quality. I have only read one of the books, when I was stranded overseas and a previous guest at the hotel had left a copy, so I may not have read it under the best circumstances, but I’d say the Harry Potter book I read would come in in the lowest quartile of the list.

I don’t see how that would be relevent. Either something is a best seller, or it’s not. I remember back when science fiction used to be relegated to some literary ghetto, and I hated that. The best seller list not a measure of quality, that’s what the reviews are for.

The current list has books by authors whose work I have read, and whose current offerings I probably will read: James Lee Burke, Karin Slaughter, Janet Evanovich, J.A. Jance. How these are “serious works of literature” and HP and the DH is not, I have no idea. (With the possible exception of Burke, which might actually be a serious work of literature.)

Actually, I quite liked that last because they’d actually begun a systematic approach to tabulating the sales. It gave an honest count of sales and an honest result for the best selling records of the week.

The NYT approach is inherently dishonest. Let’s face facts: no other book is going to move 12 million copies this year yet HP+DH won’t ever appear as the best seller. It’s a chickenshit approach to the problem. I wouldn’t mind if they had a ‘childrens’ and an ‘adults’ section but the ‘best seller’ list should be just that…what book sold the most copies over the preceding week. And it’s not.

I’ve never read a Harry Potter book in my life, and don’t intend to in the future, and I still think this is chickenshit.

I’d like to know how the sales are tabulated, in any event.

For example, I’m curious if the “Left Behind” books would appear on the best seller lists if they used a different system.

Kids’ books are still books and a bestseller list is supposed to show which books sold the most copies, period. Genre shouldn’t make any difference.
They don’t have separate box office listings for children’s movies and adult movies. The biggest movie is the biggest movie and the biggest book should be the biggest book.

I think what happened with the NYTimes list was that publishing companies and writers were getting all pissy about JKR’s absolute pwnage of the list (with multiple books on the list for years at a time and a never ending hammerlock on the number one spot), so they changed it to get more shitty books on the list and move more product off the shelves.

Ironically, the review of Deathly Hallows is on the first page of today’s Book Review. The review is by Christopher Hichens. They do treat it with respect.

They pulled self help books and other such dreck out of the non-fiction list and into its own list some years ago, so what they did for Harry was not unprecedented.

There was a thread in GQ a few years ago, and I seem to recall that the general answer was the NYT best seller list not based on actuall sales. Unfortunately, that thread has been lost, so I can’t link to it.

Very defensive sounding readers.

The New York Times does not have A “best sellers” list. It’s not the equivalent of “Top Box Office” for the weekend.

The Times puts out best-seller lists for paperback fiction, hardcover fiction, hardcover non-fiction, childrens, hardcover advice, and other things.

They happen to put Harry Potter on the children’s series list, and that is definitely the best spot for it. It’s where they would put “Series of Unfortunate Incidents” and other cross-over stuff.

If a non-fiction book sold a billion copies, it still wouldn’t make the “Hardcover Fiction” list.

The New York Times has treated the Harry Potter books quite seriously. They offered a full review of the book the day it was releases, and just yesterday, published an article on Harry Potter by Christopher Hitchens.

Jesus. . .all you people slamming the New York Times for who knows what. . .maybe you should pick it up and try reading it sometime.

The thing that sticks in my craw about this is that the NYT didn’t have a children’s list until they realized Harry Potter was hogging all the glory on the best seller’s list. I think that speaks more to the NYT being defensive rather than Harry Potter readers.