USA Today suspends book bestseller list; Bookforum shutters

Books

FILE — A customer purchases a book at a Barnes and Noble store in Corte Madera, California on Nov. 02, 2021. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

NEW YORK (AP) – USA Today’s weekly best-seller chart is on indefinite hiatus after the paper’s parent company, Gannett, fired the editor responsible for compiling the list, which is closely watched in the publishing industry.

“USA Today’s Books list will be on hiatus for the rest of the year,” an Associated Press spokeswoman said Monday. “We will share more updates in 2023.”

On Monday, the highly regarded literary magazine Bookforum announced that it will close following the sale of international magazine Artforum to Penske Media Corporation. Bookforum began in 1994 as a literary supplement to Artforum and featured writing by JG Ballard, Jennifer Egan, and many lesser-known authors.

“Book Forum was a rare and special magazine,” author Moira Donegan tweeted Monday, “one of the few places where a new writer can try out ambitious projects, and a place where I’ve never been asked to make my writing simpler, weirder, or less. tastier.”

Astra magazine closed abruptly last month after publishing two issues that featured US poet laureate Ada Lemon, novelist Ottessa Moshfegh and fantasy essayist Leslie Jamison. Leying Jiang, president of parent company Astra Publishing House, said in a statement at the time that the decision was based on “unexpected challenges” in the market.

Gannett laid off hundreds of employees earlier this month, including Mary Cadden, who has worked on the list for more than a decade.

USA Today looked to a wide range of paperback, paperback and e-book sales outlets, including independent stores and online retailers, to compile the week’s 150 best-selling books. USA Today’s listings are highly regarded by authors, agents and publishers, who also turn to The New York Times and Amazon.com listings.

Sarah McLean, a bestselling novelist who noticed last week that USA Today had not updated its list, said she and many of her peers value USA Today’s rankings for their length, diversity and openness.

“You get a broader view of the publishing industry and what people are reading,” said McLean, whose books — most recently Heartbreaker in early September — have appeared frequently on USA Today’s list. “For an often-forgotten genre like mine, the USA Today list was invaluable.”

The New York Times divides its charts into different categories of 10 or more bestsellers, from children’s picture books to hardcover fiction. USA Today, on the other hand, combined everything into a list of 150.

In early December, Colleen Hoover and John Meacham’s Abraham Lincoln biopic Harlan Coben’s latest thriller, Jennifer L. Romance books by Armentrout and Ali Hazelwood and a boxed set of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series appeared.



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