The New York Times will launch a list of bestselling ebooks in 2011. The paper has been publishing bestseller lists since 1925, and they are an important measurement of success in the book world. The new list will include both fiction and non-fiction ebooks. It’s no surprise, really, considering that ebook sales in the United States are expected to double in the next few years.
One division of this new list might have to be a section on resource or academic books. School textbooks are becoming more and more popular in the electronic format. Everything from history textbooks to preparatory books for things like GMAT prep courses are showing up more and more in student’s Kindles and other e-readers. Why are these becoming such big bestselling items in the ebook world you ask? Most likely two reasons are cost and convenience.
These textbooks and study guides cost less in the electronic format. Publisher costs are less for production, advertising and marketing. Because of this, costs are less for students when they need to purchase a book, study guide or prep course. Along with costing less, it is much more convenient to purchase a book online and have it delivered right to your device. No more long lines at the bookstore. Another factor is that e-books are less cumbersome than a book bag full of heavy textbooks.
It will be interesting to see what kinds of books are on the list and how the New York Times will calculate the best-selling ebooks? Amazon tends to keep stats to themselves, but the New York Times will obviously need Amazon’s data. The newspaper hasn’t specified exactly where they’ll be getting the information, stating only that booksellers, online retailers and publishers would provide input. No matter where they get the data, I’m betting that educational books will be on that list.