While it was certainly inevitable, since the Times seems to love to add to its bestseller lists (14 and counting!), last night's news about the addition of an e-book bestseller list came as a bit of a surprise. It's interesting to note that in the announcement, Janet Elder, editor of news surveys and election analysis, says that the Times has been creating the e-book tracking system for two years. That's serious investment in time and money on their part. They also mention that they'll be partnering with RoyaltyShare, a company that tracks all sorts of digital downloads and actually got its start in the music business.
It'll be interesting to see what this list looks like when it debuts. How similar will it be to what's selling well on the Kindle platform? Will we see more clearly the effects of the agency model on e-book sales? Will the exclusion of certain publishers from Apple's iBookstore hamper their sales? And how many books will appear both on the e-list and the hardcover or non-fiction lists? How many children's titles will show up on the e-list? Will a Harry Potter-sized smash force the creation of a children's e-list? Could I possibly ask another question?
Seriously, this is a major development in e-book publishing, and I eagerly await the publication of that first list. Do you, as readers and writers, care?