WSJ To Run E-Book Bestseller Lists Powered By Nielsen BookScan — Are E-Comics Next?
With e-books now making up about 20 percent of sales for many big publishers, it’s essential for bestseller lists to include them in order to give an accurate picture of what is selling. The Wall Street Journal will start running e-book bestseller lists starting this weekend, following a move by the New York Times earlier this year and USA Today in 2009. But there is something unique about the WSJ‘s e-book lists: They are powered by Nielsen BookScan, which has not publicly tracked e-book sales until now. Nielsen BookScan tracks print book sales, and is believed to cover about 75 percent of hardcover and paperback sales. The company had said earlier this year that it would begin tracking e-book sales at some point.
The WSJ is running four lists: “Combined e-book and physical sales for fiction and nonfiction, and e-sales only for fiction and nonfiction. Eligible releases will include self-published books, children’s books and ‘perennials,’ older works that continue to sell strongly.”
So in a very short time, BookScan will have data on electronic sales. The next question: will E-Comics sales be included in Bookscan numbers? If so, when? Will it include individual pamphlet sales, or will it only be for graphic novels? And will Comixology and Graphicly share their data with Bookscan? (Can they? Comixology has already said that various non-disclosure agreements are in place with publishers that have prevented them from releasing sales figures.)
This has been one of the biggest blind spots in the comics industry in the last year— with all of the digital initiatives that have been undertaken, we have no idea how they’ve been selling or changing the marketplace in general. If we’re going to have any idea where the comics medium is heading, we need this data.