Thursday, August 30, 2012

Adventures in the book trade #3

In What I’m reading #56, posted on 29 April, and again in What I’m reading #77, posted on 25 August,  I complained that Booksellers NZ’s lists of Premier Bestsellers was misleading because it was inaccurate and out of date, and harmful because journalists used it as a source of (mis)information. Some of my books qualified for bronze and one for silver but they weren’t listed – not that I cared as they were all out of print, but it was an indicator that all was not well. And I knew of many other books that had also scored the requisite sales but were not listed. It was a well-intentioned programme but just didn’t work. Today Booksellers NZ announced:
Following discussions within the trade, Booksellers NZ has decided to discontinue the Premier Bestsellers programme.
This programme was established some years ago to provide publishers with the opportunity of being able to “sticker” books that had attained certain levels in sales as recorded by the respective publishers.
To be awarded Premier Bestseller status, a book needed to have sold certain number of copies, and publishers needed to apply for the status and pay an accreditation fee.
The programme has not proved popular in recent years with only two or three publishers applying each year.
“Aside from the loss of interest by the majority of publishers, the programme has also become widely misunderstood,” said Lincoln Gould, CEO of Booksellers NZ.
The list of books awarded bronze, silver, gold or platinum status had, until yesterday, been on the Booksellers NZ website.
“Media often refer to the premier listings as a definitive list of the New Zealand books that have sold the most over the years. As a result, there has been concern expressed that many bestselling authors have been left off the list.
“However, the list only contains those books which publishers have applied for,” said Lincoln.
Good. I can’t claim the credit – the people at Booksellers knew there was a problem – but it’s still a win.

1 comment:

Pamela Gordon said...

Good riddance! Thanks for agitating. For the record, Janet Frame's The Goose Bath had already reached the benchmark for Platinum accreditation when it was given a Poetry Gold Sticker, but as with so many other deserving titles in that scheme, the upgrade never came.