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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Thursday, September 27, 2007 12:53 pm
From the Department of Philosophical Inquiry
Posted by: Keir Graff

In the Los Angeles Times, Josh Getlin asks a number of people whether more is less (“N.Y. Times creates more bestsellers“):

NEW YORK — It has been criticized for being ingrown and unscientific, a weekly work of fiction that — for all its seeming authoritativeness — is shrouded in mystery. So when the New York Times Book Review announced it would begin splitting its paperback bestseller list into two lists, one reserved for quality paperback fiction, a chorus of voices in publishing began parsing What It All Meant.

Some declared it a long-overdue recognition of the importance of so-called trade paperbacks, the larger, more expensive editions that feature works by critically praised writers. Those books have had to compete for spots on the Times bestseller list with smaller, cheaper, glitzier mass-market paperbacks by brand-name authors like Grisham and Baldacci. But critics said the creation of yet another bestseller list threatened to dilute the meaning of the term. And they said it also threatened to dilute the Book Review itself, which announced that, at least initially, the section would lose a page of copy to make room for expanded book listings.

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