As most people reading this website are aware, the literary media has been in steady decline for the last two decades. So in December 2022, when USA Today announced it was putting its bestseller list “on hiatus”—internet parlance for “dead and gone forever”—most of us saw it as one more nail in the book-media coffin.
But wait! When they said “hiatus” they actually meant it! Turns out USA Today is bringing back its bestseller list! For many in the industry the list served as a useful, genre-friendly counterpoint to the opaque power of the New York Times list, so this is good news indeed. According to the press release:
Using technology to enhance the user experience and automation to increase data sources, the rankings are aggregated from sales data without editorial subjectivity, giving readers an accurate and inclusive list of what people are reading – from books for kids to romance, from memoirs to thrillers.
USA Today is bringing back the list in partnership with the American Booksellers Association, Bookshop.org, and The Novel Neighbor (an independent bookstore in St. Louis), so it’s clearly aiming hard at the bookstore-loving crowd (which is good!). According to Bookshop.org founder and CEO Andy Hunter (who also co-founded Lit Hub):
We’re thrilled that USA TODAY supports small businesses and will be spotlighting local, independent bookstores in the exciting relaunch of their essential best-seller list,” said Andy Hunter, Founder and CEO, Bookshop.org. “We share a passionate belief in the value of books, authors, readers, and bookshops – the community hubs that foster a vibrant culture of reading all over the United States.
Notice how he snuck the word “hub” in there? Smooth.