OK, people are turning away from the Old Media to sample new forms of communication. Fine. But do the old media have to keep hurting their own credibility?It turns out you can't even believe The New York Times bestseller list:
It happened in 2000. The Harry Potter books -- a once in a lifetime publishing phenomenon -- were dominating the bestseller lists, with three titles ensconced in the Top 15 at the same time. It just wasn't fair, moaned publishers of more "serious" fiction. It kept more deserving titles off the list, titles that people would never hear about, said bookstore owners. And so in a rash, indefensible decision, the New York Times decided to banish children's books solely to their own separate list.
Imagine if the people behind the Nielsen Top 10 TV show listings decided that reality shows were "taking away" valuable attention from dramas and sitcoms. Let reality shows get their own list and the official Top 10 only include "genuine" TV shows, like CSI and House and Grey's Anatomy.
Imagine if Variety decided animated movies were just for kids and didn't belong on the box office Top Ten list, when more adult films like Knocked Up and Ocean's 13 needed the space.
Imagine if Billboard decided to banish country music to Nashville and reserve its list of Top Ten album for "real" music like pop, rock and hip hop.
Of course, that would be absurd. Any list of top TV shows that didn't include American Idol would be a joke. Any ranking of hit movies that ignored Shrek The Third or Ratatouille would be foolish. And any ranking of top CDs that pretended Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood didn't exist would be bizarre.
And yet that's exactly the status of The New York Times Bestseller list.