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The New York Times Stops Showing Comics Love, Suspends Graphic Novel Bestseller Lists


wonder woman batman shocked

Remember that time when The New York Times said that “comics have finally joined the mainstream” when they introduced their “Graphic Books Best Seller Lists?” Yeah, apparently they don’t consider graphic novels mainstream enough for them anymore.

As reported by The Beat, The New York Times will no longer have a Graphic Novel Hardcover, Softcover, or Manga Bestseller as part of their book review section. An email subscription version of the February 5th Bestseller Lists came with the following statement: “Beginning with the advance BSL edition that will be delivered today for February 5, 2017 there will be revisions to multiple categories in the publication. These changes will span weekly and monthly lists.”

The Beat obtained a statement about the change from the NYT that reads:

“Beginning February 5, The New York Times will eliminate a number of print but mostly online-only bestseller lists. In recent years, we introduced a number of new lists as an experiment, many of which are being discontinued.

We will continue to cover all of these genres of books in our news coverage (in print and online). The change allows us to devote more space and resources to our coverage beyond the bestseller lists.

Our major lists will remain, including: Top 15 Hardcover Fiction, Top 15 Hardcover Nonfiction, Top 15 Combined Print and E Fiction, Top 15 Combined Print and E Nonfiction, Top 10 Children’s Hardcover Picture Books, Top 10 Children’s Middle Grade Hardcover Chapter Books, Top 10 Children’s Young Adult Hardcover Chapter Books and Top 10 Children’s Series. Several more including Paperback Trade Fiction, Paperback Nonfiction, Business, Sports, Science and Advice Miscellaneous will remain online.

Readers will be notified that individual lists will no longer be compiled and updated by The New York Times on the relevant article pages.”

It’s definitely good to hear that they still plan to cover graphic novels in their news coverage. However, very often people looking for something new to read will turn first to the Best Seller Lists to see what the country is reading. It’s an easy shorthand for readers, and the fact that graphic novels won’t be a part of that anymore is a shame. Especially since comics are clearly popular.

Never mind that just about every movie these days is based on a comic of some sort, books like Raina Telgemeier’s Ghosts (which received a 500,000 copy first printing last year) and John Lewis’ biographical comic March, which also topped the Amazon Bestseller List, clearly show that comics have a place alongside prose literature.

It’s a troubling thing that comics, a medium that has historically been one of the most subversive under oppressive regimes, are getting less exposure from the New York Times at this particular point in our history. Here’s hoping the Times reconsiders.

(image via Warner Bros. Animation)

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