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Why Harry Potter will not be a NYT bestseller
rediff Entertainment Bureau | July 23, 2007 15:22 IST
It is clear now that J K Rowling is smashing her own records. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows is the fastest-selling book in publishing history.
It sold a whopping 8.3 million copies in 24 hours on sale in the United States, reports The Los Angeles Times, averaging more than 5,000 copies sold in a minute. In the United Kingdom, three million copies flew off the shelves over the weekend, reports London's [Images] Telegraph.
But to The New York Times, it won't be a bestseller.
Because seven years ago, the esteemed newspaper revamped its bestseller list -- a first in 16 years -- to create a new children's books list. Harry and his adventures have since then been featured on the children's list, not on the bestseller list, a sort of Holy Grail for a book's publishing claims.
The newspaper created the children's list in a response to complaints from publishers other than Scholastic -- Rowling's publishers -- that Harry Potter [Images] was monopolising the top of the bestseller list, depriving people access to other popular fiction.
As several bloggers have pointed out, Harry Potter became a publishing phenomenon early on precisely because of The New York Times list. And banning 'children's' fiction from the hallowed list might prevent the next phenomenon from ever seeing the light of day.
And as for giving more 'mature' books space on the The New York Times' list, the first book to replace Harry Potter after the new revamp in 2000 was Danielle Steel's The House on Hope Street.